You, The Leader, are perhaps the DEFINING factor of whether the people in your team enjoy their job or not. Gallup have shown in extensive research that leaders account for up to 70% of their team’s engagement.
The old saying rings very true - honestly, now, more than ever: people join organisations, but leave because of leaders.
The opposite is true too.
A great leader makes you feel inspired, challenged, motivated and that your work actually counts for something real.
That’s what I am interested in you thinking about today.
HOW do you, as a leader, ensure that your team is addicted to showing up to work each day.
Dan Pink, one of the world’s great business thinkers, has identified three core aspects of what motivates us to come to work each day and find a big sense of fulfilment in what we do.
The first is MASTERY which is our deeply ingrained urge to improve ourselves and develop lasting skill in what we do. Giving your team time to develop and get good at what they do is essential to them loving their work. Smart workplaces don’t rush their teams and make sure that the tasks that people are working on are clustered around a central theme.
Give your teams specific reflection tasks to embed their learning as much as possible. Have them teach what they know to other people too - after all, you never truly understand something until you’ve taught it.
The second big pillar of loved up teams is AUTONOMY - as people we have a huge need to feel in charge of our own lives.
Pink explains that while control might lead to compliance, it’s autonomy that leads to ENGAGEMENT.
It’s been said that great leaders should hire great people and leave them alone! And I almost agree - you see the level of autonomy you give should be aligned to the experience that someone has and the level of accountability they are prepared to take on. Good experience, and owning the end results? Let them run! If they are new to the industry and aren’t quite ready for the buck to stop with them? Then a little less autonomy and a little more coaching.
The third fundamental aspect of super engaged teams is PURPOSE. Purpose led teams see the point in what they are doing and know that it makes a difference for other people.
You can help your team find purpose in what they are doing by asking “beyond making money, why do we do what we do”. It doesn’t matter what your team does, purpose can sit in the middle of it. Research has found that hospital cleaners and hairdressers are HOT SPOTS of purpose driven work. Why? Because they could connect the dots between what they are doing - cleaning and cutting hair, to the bigger picture - safer, healthier environments and people feeling great about themselves.
When you can help the people on your team find an emotional connection to their work – you make that work meaningful.
And if there is one defining factor of a great leader is that they know how to make work MEANINGFUL. Meaningful work - work that challenges you, work where the connection between effort and reward is real, work that connects you to other people - that’s the type of work that brings you and your team alive.
Be an incredible leader - make work meaningful.