5 Ways Great Leaders Make Work Meaningful For Employees

Author

Christine Comaford

May 5, 2016

According to Harvard Business Review, “amazing bosses try to make work meaningful and enjoyable for employees. They’re most successful when they adhere to a few best practices.”

I agree with these best practices and would like to take each one step further and offer a tool that will help you leverage each rule.

Smart State

5 “Rules” Best Bosses Follow

“Manage individuals, not just teams. When you’re under pressure, you can forget that employees have varying interests, abilities, goals, and styles of learning. But it’s important to understand what makes each person tick so that you can customize your interactions with them.”

Most of us react in predictable ways [stances blog?], have predictable patterns of behavior, and have predictable speech patterns. No wonder it’s so easy for people to peg us….and no wonder it can seem virtually impossible to get through to certain people.

Yet as a predictable leader, you compromise your ability to influence and to shift another’s behavior, which is often crucial to accelerate results, boost revenue, ensure sustainable growth. While a large part of influencing is about making people feel a sense of safety, belonging, and mattering, sometimes we need to bluntly lay out the facts. Being able to switch from one stance to the other is an immensely valuable leadership skill. [Read: Stop Being So Predictable As A Leader: 6 Ways To Change This Now to discover which stance you default to and which stances you need to learn to be able to adapt and leverage your team.] 

“Go big on meaning. Inspire people with a vision, set challenging goals, and articulate a clear purpose. Don’t rely on incentives like bonuses, stock options, or raises.”

We’ve all done it. We’ve sat everybody down and explained. And wonder of wonders, almost nobody understood or acted upon our very informative explanation. “Why don’t they just listen?” we ask ourselves. “Why are they still doing X when clearly we have to learn to Y if we’re going to succeed?” And on it goes.

The fault is not in the strategy. And it’s not in the intelligence of your team. The problem is that they didn’t think of it themselves — they haven’t had that “aha” moment that would help them contribute their piece of the puzzle.

When people solve a problem for themselves they get a rush of neurotransmitters. They understand the “why.” And they get that by solving the puzzle themselves. [Read: The Evolution Of Employee Motivation Methods: Carrots, Sticks And Being Nice Aren’t Sustainable] 

“Focus on feedback. Use regular (at least weekly) one-on-one conversations for coaching. Make the feedback clear, honest, and constructive.”

A well-orchestrated team depends on everyone doing their job, at the time they are supposed to do it, yielding the results they are supposed to yield. This is why we need consequences–they remind us that not keeping our commitments will carry repercussions. [Read: Do This When The Ball Gets Dropped – And Prevent Repeats]

“Don’t just talk — listen. Pose problems and challenges, and then ask questions to enlist the entire team in generating solutions.”

How is your company’s communication? Is it tight and efficient, aimed at driving results and increasing connection? Or does everyone talk a lot without saying anything that moves the needle?

[Read: 4 Steps To Fast, Effective Meetings] The result? Meetings that are efficient, effective, and keep your team happy and executing with high accountability. Further, it’ll reduce B.S., frustration, and disengaged team members.

“Be consistent. Be open to new ideas in your management style, vision, expectations, and feedback. If change becomes necessary, acknowledge it quickly.”

Asking for feedback is a very powerful tool. One that can be successfully used to maximize engagement and growth. Just make sure you also plan and invest resources in the follow up.

The damage happens when a leader asks for feedback and then either does nothing to improve him or herself or attempts to identify the source of criticism and punish it. Persecuting someone who took a risk to respond to your request is an obvious trust breaker, but why is doing nothing so bad? [Read Pitfall #1: How Great Leaders Build Trust And Increase Employee Engagement]

The Result?

You will have a SmartTribe culture where even in the face of change and growth, your team is focused and communicate clearly and directly. Your tribe will be unusually accountable to their promises and powerfully influential. And each member will have the energy and enthusiasm to do what needs to be done – consistently.

Christine Comaford is the author of SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together.

This article was written by Christine Comaford from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

There are 3 comments

  • Deepa Mohamed - 05/23/2016 13:59
    very apt..one to one interactions with feedbacks and listening goes a long way in winning trust and credibility as a boss. once thats in place,other mentioned factors helps in completing the loop.thx

  • Heather Gloria Bones - 05/22/2016 01:38
    Good points. Yes, totally agree - great leaders treat team members as individuals thereby allowing them to grow. Great leaders inspire.

  • Conroy Bourg - 05/15/2016 14:25
    Solid article, Ive seen first hand the Damage mentioned in this article

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