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Why winning workers’ hearts matters

Emmanuel Jinda

THE phrase “winning hearts and minds” has come to be used in a derisory sense to refer to endeavours to influence; it is indeed the power needed for someone to have a positive belief. Once the latter has been achieved, it becomes the necessary ingredient for converting positive thinking into positive action.

When as leaders we strive to win our people’s hearts and minds, we will be trying to connect emotionally to our ideas or positions as leaders. This is the only way to gain support for a decision that we may be having or that which is in the making.

In the 21st century, winning the hearts and minds of employees is increasingly becoming an imperative. Leaders need to consider new ways to change the attitude and behaviours of employees. Why? A lot of changes are happening in the business arena. For instance, the traditional models of employment characterised by emotional contracts that bound employees to the employees have been eroding.

Relatedly, workers have not been spared the pain of the economic downturn, associated lay-offs, job insecurity, rapid technological advancements, changes in customer behaviours or preferences etc. Resultantly, they no longer feel as much loyal and committed to their organisations as they did before. The dilemma has also affected the traditional role of middle management who act as a conduit for communication from the top to the bottom. What communication can they communicate in such uncertain times?

In the face of these trends, leaders find themselves struggling to get employees committed to their work. Rather than adapting to the demands of organisational transformation, employees are more likely to resist passively. In the face of these challenges, one way to counter these problems is to invest time and effort in changing mindsets and behaviours of the workforce. Winning the hearts and minds of the employees becomes the way to galvanise efforts. It is a new business trajectory of assuring that everything wanted by both the business and the employees is attained.

Employees have a value proposition which seeks to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” The need to galvanise efforts and minds to see things from the same perspective becomes key. Not only does it help in improving organisational performance but other business factors like employee branding, employee value, employee image creations and engagement all come into the equation.

The starting point of both success and happiness is a healthy self-image. It is no exaggeration to say that a strong positive self-image is the best preparation for success in life. Businesses will get what they are poised for by helping employees to get what they want. Engaging the employee’s minds and hearts is a way of letting them appreciate that they are rare, exclusive, different and unique.

These qualities if invested in, give employees enormous value and success which is made easy by the belief.

Emotionally winning the heart and minds of the employees make it possible for business leaders to reap from their employees. It is good business and good leadership to be good finders of employee emotions and feelings.

Other business elements like sincere appreciations and compliments are also essential tools for motivating and engaging employees’ hearts and minds.
Telling employees, the way you see them and the way you treat them is good recipe to success.

This therefore require invoking the tri-dimensional nature of a person in all dealings to make sure their spiritual, physical and mental health issues are taken care of as well.

Purposeful leaders are working on winning hearts and minds of their workforce. Why it matters is because employees are happier and more productive when their leaders show strong morals, have a clear vision and are committed to internal business stakeholders.

It is this purposeful behaviour that is needed in modern managers to keep employees from quitting due to dissatisfaction. They often are willing to go an extra mile and usually such employees are less cynical. Winning hearts in modern workplace has been referred to as a battle compared to use of rules and duties.

Paradoxically, businesses are faced with a challenge of how they are going to develop leaders who employees want to follow. Leaders need those habits that inspire employees to fully commit themselves in their jobs and to willingly seek mountains for their organisations.

How can leaders become real, engage and demonstrate authentic leadership? The secret of getting employees engaged is not about showing them what is good for them but providing them with a purpose that is bigger than them. Employees are willing to work harder for a cause they believe in hence the importance of winning hearts.

In conclusion, organisations focussed exclusively on driving profits without a compelling mission will inherently neuter engagement. Leaders are being encouraged to get the best of others by giving the best of themselves. This will ensure others feel connected and genuinely supported at work and that is a driver of engagement and loyalty. Winning the hearts and minds of employees can only happen through inspiration.

Jinda is the managing consultant of PROSERVE Consulting Group, a leading supplier of professional HR and management services locally, regionally and internationally. — +263 773 00 4143 or +263 24 2772778 or visit www.proservehr.com.

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