As I was going through some notes I’ve taken from various spiritual leadership conferences, I came across notes I took on Patrick Lencioni’s speech at the Global Leadership Summit last month. Patrick is the founder of The Table Group, where he spends his time writing books and articles and speaking on topics related to leadership and organizational life.
The first note I wrote on his speech is: “When you’re a leader, you’re a CRO: Chief Reminder Officer.” You have to remind people why their job matters.
Patrick noted that there are many people who have dirty jobs, yet love their work, and there are plenty of CEOs who are miserable with their work. It’s not what you do. Rather, do you like what you do?
A recent Ask.com post indicated that a person who works 40 hours per week from age18 to age 65 will have spent approximately 14% of their life working. This equates to almost 11 years of their life.
Many spend those 11 years in misery. So, how do you give your employees a more enjoyable work life? How do you get them to love their jobs? Let’s take a look at the three main components to job misery:
1. Anonymity. Are you interested in getting to know the people who work for you? Do people know or care about you?
As a leader, you need to care about people, especially the people who work for you. When you take the time to get to know someone, they stick with you.
We are called to love the people who work for us so take an interest in those who work for you, and if you’re in middle management, take interest in those higher up on the food chain as well. They’re people too with thoughts and feelings, and if they’re not happy; you’re not happy.
2. Feeling irrelevant. How do you build people up and make them feel relevant? Your job as a leader is to give joy in what could be a joyless situation (like an airport job or nighttime security guard). There is a reason people work and do what they do, but people want relevance in life. They want a sense of purpose.
Again, it’s your job to remind them why they matter. Let an admin know that he or she helps the office run more smoothly. Let the janitor know that if it weren’t for him, your office would be a mess. Your plants would be dead. Trash would be everywhere… Let people know that their job helps to make your life and your organization better, that they have a purpose and that you value their contribution.
3. Immeasurement (for lack of a better word). People need to be able to assess that they’re doing a good job. You can always tell people what to do, but do you tell them that they’re doing it well? It is important to provide feedback to your employees or followers. And, it’s not always a number. There are qualitative ways to measure an employee’s performance in their area of relevance. Maybe pull them aside and let them know they’ve had a positive impact on operations. Or, take them out to lunch; buy a little gift, offer a bonus or promotion. Empower them with more responsibility. However you show it, give people the opportunity to assess what they’re doing and the type of job they’re doing. If they’re doing a good job, let them know it.
As a leader, one of the most important measures you can take is to make your employees or colleagues love their job. Reach beyond the day-to-day tasks, results and ROI. Let them know that they are an asset to the organization that makes it run and thrive. Where would you be without them? They need to feel known, and not just professionally, but personally. They need to know you care about them as human beings and not just as coworkers. They need relevance and a sense of purpose. They want to know that you value their valuable time and that it makes an overall contribution to the greater success of your organization. Management is a ministry. The happiest employees are the ones that feel known and appreciated by their leaders. And, a good leader is measured by how well he or she knows his or her employees, what drives them and ultimately, gives them a sense of purpose. Remind them why their job matters.