Ask The Experts


Getting real with work expectations

Question: Getting the loyalty and commitment from people these days is very tough. I really do not understand why their work attitude is so negative.

They are always geared for themselves only and maybe just a little for the company. If only I could have 30% of their commitment, I will be most satisfied. Unfortunately, I am not even getting half of that.

It is really an uphill task trying to get them to push a little more, like working an extra hour or rescheduling their annual leave. I used to be gentle with them; coaxing them, leading by example and even telling them about the rewards for their sacrifices to the organisation. But all these do not seem to work.

I am feeling agitated and frustrated with this now, as a lot of department plans cannot take off well when I do not have the team behind me. Indeed, I seem to be a ‘lone ranger’ in the workplace. What do I need to do to change this situation?

Answer: One hard truth that you’ll need to face up to is to know that you are renting a worker’s behaviour, and not buying their soul. While you may have the right to demand for their behaviour during the work day, you need to know that anything more at the end of the working day is indeed their call.

Taking it from this perspective may probably make you seem more reasonable, understanding, and even humble when you want your people to do extra for you. It is important to know that it is perfectly natural for them not to have the same dedication to work like you.

The reason is you are the boss and you see the work world from a different playing field to them. A few of them may want to be like you but many may simply choose to be ordinary working people. They want to enjoy their work by being productive, and be acknowledged personally and financially for their work, and then leave for home to enjoy the time with their families, friends, and doing after-work activities.

So if you can be a little more philosophical with this truth, it will certainly take the stress out of you and further change your outlook and ways when you make demands on their time and efforts.

You can ask for their time as a favour and not as an obligation that they must do for you.

Even when you set the good example of coming early and going off late and hoping that it will work but if it does not, be understanding about it. Tell yourself that you should not make a covert demand on them.

Once you see it this way, you will see a drastic change taking place.

Powerful Questions:

•What are your gains when you exercise more understanding and tolerance on your people as opposed to demanding that they give their extras to you?

•How do you personally want your boss to treat you in this same area? •When you can soften on this, what values in you are you living out?

•What will your life be like from then on?

Article by Dr Michael Heah, an ICF Master Certified Coach with


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