Why would top leaders want to be authentic with the risk of yielding some of their authoritarian power? Because happiness pays! Up to 25 percent of excellence in job performance depends on employee happiness. That’s a lot of productivity, not to be sneezed at when figuring the bottom line. In one study at St. Lucie Medical Center in South Florida, when nursing teams were adjusted according to personality strengths of the individuals, turnover was reduced by 65 percent, and patient satisfaction increased measurably.
Authentic styles of leadership encourage self-awareness and sensitivity as to how management is perceived. Any boss who knows how he or she comes across is more apt to make decisions that are more acceptable to the staff members and therefore increase employee satisfaction. That sets a tone for staff members to be open as well, and conflict and resistance give way to more effective team effort and better overall results.
So what are some specific steps to accomplish this sense of fulfillment or satisfaction that will lead to improved bottom-line results? And, more to the point, how does a boss encourage his or her team to overcome what initially seems like a paradox – assuring good output while at the same time maintaining personal meaning and satisfaction on everyone’s part? If you’re responsible for a team and you want to accomplish this, here are some recommendations:
Show Your Appreciation
Make sure all team members under you get the sense of how much you appreciate their work. One way is by communicating a sense of the big picture. Let’s say, for example, that a team member, let’s call her Carrie, is doing lab research on cancer prevention. Though her work is highly meaningful by anybody’s standards – mixing, measuring, and analyzing solutions all day, working with lab mice and tissue samples – it can easily become routine and dull. Without regular feedback as to its place in the larger scheme, such work could begin to take on a sense of drudgery. If you can make sure that Carrie sees the big picture of so many lives being saved and the many families that would avoid the misery of cancer in a family member, Carrie would find the meaning that might otherwise evade her.
Treat Them As Humans
Remember to treat each of your team members with the courtesy of asking about his or her family. Nothing else with so little effort will go as far to make employees feel part of the organization. They’ll go from feeling like numbers to feeling recognized as the human beings they are. At the same time, keep your antennae up for the possibility that some people like to keep their business and personal lives separate. Don’t paint all individuals with the same broad strokes.
Be Complimentary, Not Just Critical
Try to find positive incidents to compliment your staff members rather than limiting your feedback to correcting mistakes. More than anything else, research in psychology has taught us that rewarding good behavior is much more effective than punishing mistakes.
The above are just 3 ways to increase your team’s sense of fulfillment at work. In a later post we will consider other ways to help.
How well do a group of individuals work well together in a team-based environment? Take our Free Relationship DNA assessment to identify the team attributes in one of four quadrants with a high level profile and a set of recommendations.