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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

The Psychology In Leadership


Robert Stevenson Blog - What are employees really thinking?

What are your employees thinking? What is bothering, annoying and/or frustrating them? What barriers are in their way that, in their opinion, are hindering them from performing their job properly, quickly, and efficiently?

Before delivering a program, I interview several employees within their organization, so I may get a first-hand view as to what is going on in the company. I let the employees whom I am interviewing know, that I will “NOT” be sharing … who said what with anyone; this is for my ears only. It is amazing how some of them will totally open up to me as if I am some kind of psychologist. Here are a few questions that will usually lead to some interesting and colorful responses:


  • What is the most frustrating thing you do on a daily basis?

  • What is your company’s biggest weakness?

  • Where does the company “drop-the-ball” the most with the customer?

  • What is the biggest complaint you have about your job or the company?

  • If you were President of your company, and could change anything about the company – what would you change?


The key to why employees open-up to me is I am not their boss. I can’t fire them, demote them, or cause them problems for what they said. A psychologist observes, interprets, and records how individuals relate to one another and to their environments; that is exactly what I am trying to do.


I am currently preparing for an upcoming speaking engagement, and the company I am working for had recently hired an independent, 3rd party company, to research the major issues that could be affecting the productivity of their employees. Their senior management team fully understands the importance of “Psychology in Leadership.” They want (need) to know what is going on in their employees’ minds. They need a pulse on any frustrations, complaints, issues, irritations, disappointments, unfairness, and grievances.


Great leaders understand a happy workforce is a productive workforce. Happy employees can boost sales, are more creative, accurate, productive, provide better service, lower overhead costs, have higher retention rates, have better analytical abilities and are better at handling adversity. Those are all very important factors any company leadership team should be striving for.


Psychologists look for the truth in all situations. They find effective ways to “observe and interpret” what is going on in the lives of their patients. As it is with psychologists, great leaders find effective ways to “observe and interpret” the attitude, morale, camaraderie, and stress of their employees and company and then figure out ways to make things better for everyone concerned. In other words, they are hell-bent on finding ways to improve their employees’ workday.


What have you done lately to find out what is REALLY going on in the minds of your employees? What have you done to show concern about their job? What steps have you taken to improve their situation? Don’t assume because no one is saying anything, that everything is okay. A problem that is left to fester, can cause you to lose talented employees … all because you didn’t ask. Be a part-time psychologist and start researching and diagnosing what is happening with your employees that needs to be addressed; it all starts with great listening skills.


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