Most people hate work. They only do it for the money.
Now, it is true that some people love what they do and would continue to do it without pay, but that group makes up only a tiny percentage of the workforce. Stop paying, and the rest would leave so fast, you wouldn’t see them for dust.
Most people like their managers but hate being managed. They hate bureaucracy and the lack of freedom to be involved in the decisions that affect their work.
We know this because what people like and hate about work has been extensively researched, so there are no secrets surrounding the differences between high performing worksites and the poor performers. The high performers treat people well and engage them in decision making while the poor performers treat people like a commodity.
These differences between organisations can easily be seen in their language and stories. The differences are rarely in their resources and equipment. Sometimes, it may be in their business models but, more often than not, it’s in the way they treat their staff.
More specifically, the difference is in how well staff and managers converse with each other. How often they sit down for coffee and have quality, two-way conversations, with every conversation building on millions of previous conversations to ultimately create an organisation’s performance story – its culture.
Every organisation has a story; a cultural narrative that describes how the organisation began, how it has been managed, what it values and how it is likely to perform in the future. Every organisation also has a language; a set of words, acronyms and conversation patterns that drive the behavioural interactions and culture.
Most people don’t like going to work. They would rather be doing something else; something active, something challenging, something engaging. It’s not that they don’t want to work; they just want choice, variety and ownership over what they do.
People need stimulation and an opportunity to think. An invitation to participate in the decisions that affect their working lives. What they don’t need is little or no freedom and some arbitrary person, called “the manager,” giving orders.
Taking orders is rarely motivating for the majority of people but giving orders is normal practice in most families, schools and workplaces.