Why Employees Feel Like A Burden

Why is payroll considered an expense, a liability? I would like to know who decided, way back in the dark ages, that payroll was to be placed in the expense side of a financial report.

This fundamentally flawed perspective has had a damaging effect on our workforce since time began. Payroll is also considered a liability and a burden.

It may make sense in order to count beans, but it makes no sense when you must get work done through other people. The current perspective of our American workforce is fundamentally erroneous.

In order to lead, action is required. The actions a leader takes are based on their beliefs. If you believe your employees are an expense, you will treat them like an expense and they will feel like an expense, a burden and a necessary evil.

If they feel like a burden, how will you get them to outproduce your competition? How will you get them to innovate? How will you get them to tackle the next big change in the industry and stay ahead of the competition? Demotivated employees only do enough not to get fired.

Your leadership may be hog-tied from the beginning if you come out of the gates believing your employees are an expense or a burden. Attitude reflects leadership. Employees don't follow words or commands, they follow your actions.

To be an exceptional leader requires extraordinary leadership perspectives that produce actions that people want to follow. I suggest removing this practice of accounting for payroll. It should never have been placed in the expense or liability section of any report. Instead, I recommend placing it in the asset column.

Payroll is an investment, not an expense. Change your perspective on payroll, change your perspective on your employees. Begin seeing them as an investment, an asset, something to vest yourself in and receive a return. The next question should be, what is my return on my investment? You invest a lot of money in payroll; what is your return?

As a leader, when you begin to see your employees as an asset, your actions toward them will change, and their attitude will reflect you. They will begin to feel like an asset and begin to innovate and produce more.

Now, this is being discussed as a simple concept, and it really is that simple. But know it takes time and a commitment from management to build. Most employees, according to Gallup, are unhappy at work, over 70%. It's because most don't feel appreciated. The number one reason people leave work is because of bad management, and the belief that management doesn't care.

I believe it's because management is unaware of the implications of their actions. In order to invest in an employee, management must measure the skill set of an employee and know what makes them fulfilled at work. Perhaps they need to be moved to a different department to get the most out of them. Maybe they need more training, better tools and control of their environment if possible.

Think of a farmer who plants corn. First the ground is tilled and fertilized then the seeds are planted. Next, the farmer waters the corn then sprays for weeds and bugs.

The farmer is constantly tending to the corn to help it grow and produce the maximum amount of ears per stock. Never do you see the farmer yelling at the corn, or telling the corn to grow anyway in spite of the fact that he could not water it today. No, the farmer feeds and protects the corn so the corn may grow.

Employees know they are valued when they get the best training, are given great tools to do their job and are protected so they may excel.

If you want great employees who produce great results, it starts with leadership. They will reflect you as the leader. Know your leadership perspectives and the results they create in your employees. Keep it simple and know that managers are better at demotivating than motivating.

Editor's Note: We invite you to check out Leo's new book, Attitude Reflects Leadership, to delve deeper into his thoughts on leadership.