Magic Johnson just quit one day. Out of nowhere, without notice, he resigned. In a vulnerable interview, he said, “I want to go back to being who I was before taking on this job. ”We can only imagine the pressures and politics he must have faced as president of the Lakers (that’s a whole different subject and we know there’s more to the story), but what most of us likely don’t have to imagine is how miserable he was to be stuck in a job where he had to hide emotions…faking it.

A study by leadership researcher, Mark Murphy, found that 51% of people said they Always or Frequently have to “act” or “put on a show” at work. That means half of the people in your company walk around with a smile on their faces, and yet deep down, they really want to walk out the door.

It’s a depressing statistic and yet, one so many of us can relate to. Not only are we missing out on a major opportunity to serve the workplace and teams with our gifts, just think about the implications on wasted energy that could be funneled into building new ideas, relationships and innovation. That 51% likely have some game-changing, creative ideas to boost productivity and pioneer innovation, but they aren’t going to say a word. Why do so many of us opt for this version of work?

Three major contributors work together to create this dynamic:

-Lack of Safety at Work: In Google’s 2-year study on the factors that create the best teams, they found psychological safety to be one of the most critical factors. Leaders, want a high performing team? You have to make the jump to creating an environment where candor is encouraged and your team members are supported when asking questions and sharing thoughts about their work, the environment, team, and yes, even you.

-Failure to Align with Individual Values & Purpose: Focusing solely on a company’s agenda and values isn’t going to cut it in the current or future workplace. According to this CNBC article, if we don’t start caring more about developing the whole person at work, we’ll be losing great employees to someone who does.

-Over-Managing: Micro-management is a sure-fire way to create infectious misery in the workplace. Not only do team members feel that lack of safety, but micromanagement makes people feel inferior and trapped, not to mention mistrusted (and we wrote about this). Families and health pay the upfront price for the employee striving to manage their toxic work life, but eventually, the company pays when that team member finally walks out the door. (Remember, people leave leaders, not companies)

Leaders, this is totally avoidable. It just takes a strong why, the intention to make it happen, and a simple plan. Don’t trade everything you really want to create in your business, your brand, and your life, for a career focused on fixing problems you knew were going to happen. There’s no progress in that! We know you want something better.

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