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Viewpoints: The Power of Cultivating Workforce and Leadership Behavior

Karin Lindner

By Karin Lindner
Karico Performance Solutions
Richmond Hill, ON, Canada
Web site:


I am disappointed when I see people working in a poisoned environment, toiling in negativity day in and day out. It not only has a detrimental impact on their productivity, but more importantly, on their health and well-being, all for the illusion of security and a regular paycheck. Why do so many organizations ignore their crippled company culture and choose to stick with the status quo?

It’s time to wake up! We need to realize that we have to compete in order to survive. We have to keep getting better plant by plant, leader by leader, and employee by employee.

If you compare gardening to managing people, there really is no difference. The seeds you plant now you will harvest later. People demonstrate negative attitudes and behaviors because they’re accepted. Our leaders are swamped with so many demands that it becomes a real challenge to not only address these issues but also to take the time, energy and effort to create sustainable change. There is such a disconnect between many corporate leaders and their workforce that they don’t even realize that there is one. If they do, they don’t know what to do about it.

If each employee was committed to making small, sustainable improvements, tremendous operational results could be achieved. Very often it comes down to personal awareness in order to overcome a certain roadblock. Most companies are so busy measuring productivity that they can’t see the real reason or root cause for the loss of productivity within their organizations.

Here is a news flash: Life cannot be just about work! It is essential to encourage people to look after themselves—from feeding their minds and spirits to proper nutritional intake for optimum health. If you feel good about yourself, it will be easier for you to deal with all of the challenges you may face throughout your day.

Often people are denied the opportunity to excel in their jobs. They aren’t challenged to be the best they can be. That’s when some choose to start participating in various sports activities; that makes them feel good because they want to see results. That’s how it was with me. As a marathon runner and triathlete, I know that through sports I have discovered many of my own qualities that I would otherwise not have been able to display as an employee. What a loss that would have been for the company!

Personal interests tell a lot about a person, but in order to discover that, you have to care about the people who cross your path. For example, a marathon runner displays many qualities that could be very useful on the job. They are goal-oriented, have a keen desire to improve, and they possess self-esteem, passion, energy, intrinsic motivation, dedication, persistence and commitment. Wouldn’t this be a person you’d like to have as an employee? I am not saying to only look for sport enthusiasts, but every person has certain interests and these interests are manifested in the qualities this person has. It is then our responsibility as leaders to help them improve in the areas where they already naturally excel.

I am convinced that companies who encourage and support their employees to physically and mentally look after themselves will always have a happier and more productive staff. I have even heard of companies that offer an extra vacation day for people who pass a fitness test. Researchers have found that only one in 13 workers swaps his or her business suit for jogging gear and pounds the pavement for more than 40 minutes while not-so health-conscious colleagues stay at their desks to eat their packed lunches. Who do you think will be more productive over the course of the day? Please be assured that those who venture outside work return to their desks feeling re-invigorated and ready to press on with their workload. Clearly, exercise is good for our health and good for the business.

You may have more than one person like this working for you, people who have the desire to add value to your organization. Start looking at your team from a different perspective and help them awaken their spirit. ME


Excerpted from How Can We Make Manufacturing Sexy? A Mindset of Passion and Purpose from the Production Floor to the Executive Floor, by Karin Lindner. An Austrian, Lindner moved to Canada in 2003 and was hired by Magna International. She formed Karico Performance Solutions in 2006.


Published Date : 9/1/2012

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