March 21, 2018 • 5 minute read • by Saeed
“Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.” Dr. Peter F. Drucker
If you only know one thing about leadership, make it this one: the most powerfully motivating condition people experience at work is making progress at meaningful work. If your job involves leading others, the implications are clear: the most important thing you can do each day is to help your team members be engaged and experience progress at meaningful work.
As a leader, your obsession should be keeping people engaged in their work. Countless studies have shown that companies with higher rates of employee engagement have been shown to meaningfully outperform those with lower engagement.
Engaged employees at work in a vital environment is not accident however. You must understand what drives each person, help build connections between each person’s work and the organization’s mission and strategic objectives, provide timely feedback, and help each person learn and grow on an ongoing basis.
You may win battles, but without engaged employees, you will lose the war.
The best leaders understand that to realize their higher purpose, to create value for all their stakeholders, and to win in the marketplace, they must win in the workplace. They understand that if you only focus on results, then it can be very easy to get distracted from building the team you need to get the results you want.
Here are 10 things great leaders do clearly and consistently to help employees be engaged and make progress at meaningful work:
1. They continuously confirm that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
2. They are relentless about motivating people and giving people energy to their best work.
3. They create an environment where high performers feel unmistakably valued for their input and their output.
4. They are uncompromising about maintaining standards of quality but do so by caring about their employees.
5. They acknowledge mistakes and don’t blame others or take credit for their work.
6. They understand that a good plan well-executed beats a perfect plan poorly-executed.
7. The deliver on results consistently and repeatedly.
8. They are role models for the standards they evangelize.
9. They build and inspire trust.
10. They hold others accountable and are accountable to themselves.
A Final Word
In my over 30 years of leadership experience teaching and coaching leaders at various stages in their careers, locally, nationally, and internationally, I’ve developed a very clear worldview on what leadership behaviors contribute to success. This comes from my own leadership experience as well as hundreds of research articles, books on the topic and my observations of other leaders I have worked with. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.
In a nutshell, I’ve observed that the very best leaders are masters at inspiring, influencing and setting up the structures, processes and environments that help highly valued people maintain their engagement and make progress at meaningful work. That is how they win every time.
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