There's nothing like your son fracturing his foot to teach you a lesson in "What is this busy life worth?" I was reminded how much on our own we are. Dropping K-man off to daycare blind from visiting the optometrist and lame from his tumble in the morning - and then taking him to urgent care that evening to find out via the radiology department that he had in fact hurt himself. You wouldn't know it to see him. He's such a cheerful little man. But it does make me question - where are my priorities when a client call takes precedence to taking my son to the doctor? I'm very tired of putting the needs of others before the needs of myself. There are so many fetters because of our decision to be in the States. Working jobs that require visas and earning money that can not be spent and saving holidays that can not be taken. Working long hours for very little thanks at the end of the day when you're at each other's throats because the garbage was not taken out or the dishes not loaded. Who walks the dog, who takes the child to daycare? Who takes which car? What's the point of all of these physical things when you can not stop and enjoy anything that you have available? What is the point of working hard if there are no breaks? Every day is a fire to put out. Every day is a "Drop everything and work on 'this'".
You can not empower employees with a "Drop everything and work on this" attitude. This speaks of there being too much at stake with every little problem. This means that every problem becomes a big problem. The issues you leave at the side are the issues that are tomorrow's fires. Everything is an emergency.
Employees lose their will to work. Lose their will to think. Why should I think when you will think for me? Why should I raise my effort if it's only going to be another hot topic come tomorrow? Why bother when I'm just going to have to re-do.
Demoralization. Lack of trust. Running a marathon that simply will never end. When do we come up for air? When is there time to spend with families. When is there time to laugh and joke?
So these are interesting queries. How do you empower a demoralized and exhausted team? Where are the wins?