Many years ago I was doing work for a government contractor and was asked to do an interview at a remote desert site. As I approached the site, I could see protesters on both sides of the road chanting angrily. I wondered about how this affected the employees’ sense of pride in the organization. My curiosity was soon answered. As I talked with employees, I asked them what they said when people ask where they worked. It turned out they all found ways to give vague answers to keep people from knowing they worked at this site.
That organization had the lowest level of pride I have ever measured. But how does pride affect an organization? Some may think that not liking where they work doesn’t affect an employee’s performance. But they’re wrong. The greatest evidence to that fact can be summarized in one phrase: “It’s not in my job description.” Employees who lack pride don’t feel a sense of ownership and are not willing to go the extra mile.
What can a leader do to instill pride in team members? To answer this question, I looked at four data sets from Zenger Folkman with more than 360,000 respondents. In the analysis I looked at the key correlations to pride in an organization. What I found were five keys that most significantly impact company pride:
1. Satisfaction And Engagement: The first cousins of pride are satisfaction and engagement. If employees were satisfied with the organization, with their job and had a high level of engagement, they were proud. If they were dissatisfied and unengaged they had low levels of pride. These two dimensions were so highly correlated that it was difficult to tell which came first. Suffice it to say, if you want to increase the pride people have in your company, increase their engagement.
2. Satisfaction With Leaders: A leader’s effectiveness has a significant impact on engagement and employee pride in the company. When there is a lack of trust in either the top leadership team or an immediate supervisor, pride falters. There are four key behaviors leaders can use to build pride:
• Inspiring And Stretching Others: Pushing hard on others does little to generate pride, but inspiring others is a key to helping direct reports feel a strong sense of pride. Leaders who have the ability to energize their direct reports and motive them to accomplish difficult objectives create an atmosphere where pride grows. Ask people to think of a time when they accomplished a difficult or challenging task. When they talk about this experience you will see a sense of pride they have in their accomplishments. When people accomplish challenging tasks they are proud of themselves, which in turn builds pride in the organization.
• Communicating The Vision And Values Of The Organization: Leaders who are skilled at helping others understand the vision, direction and purpose of the organization have team members with more pride. It’s hard to be proud of something when you don’t understand how your role will benefit others. Too many leaders believe everyone in the organization understands this, but the most successful leaders continuously communicate this message to their teams.
• Encourage Cooperation And Collaboration: Leaders who are competing with other groups and engaging in conflict are not building pride in their team members. Competition creates winners and losers, and conflict makes everyone uncomfortable. In organizations where there are high levels of cooperation, pride thrives.
• Leaders Are Role Models: When leaders do what they say they will do, pride is alive and well. When leaders say one thing and do another, no one is proud.
3. A General Sense Of Fairness In The Organization: When people feel that team members are treated fairly and that business practices with customers are fair, pride is strong. When there are questions about fairness, pride suffers.
4. The Organization Is A Good Corporate Citizen: Organizations that make an effort to support and provide service in their local communities often question the time and expense of such activities, however, these efforts have a positive impact on the pride that team members feel.
5. Career Success, Growth And Development: When team members learn and develop new skills, their pride in themselves and their company increases. Providing development in an organization can have a significant positive impact on the pride that is felt.
Having a strong sense of pride in the organization you work for may seem trivial, but it can do much to impact bottom line results. Employees who are proud are less likely to quit, more likely to recommend the organization as a good place to work, and often do an excellent job of marketing company products to others. You’ll also be hearing a lot less of the infamous and telling statement, “It’s not in my job description.”
This article was written by Joseph Folkman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.