Becoming a leader your team is proud of
Q: One of the key findings the 2010 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government survey is that worker satisfaction is more profoundly affected by perceptions of top management than by their immediate supervisor. What lessons can top leaders in the public and private sector glean from this?
If you're a top leader, you need to understand that your words and your behavior set the tone, the culture, and the values within your organization. If you seem distant and detached, the organization will take on the aura of a rudderless ship. Your middle managers will be without guidance and will probably perform poorly, while your staffers will be uninspired and angry, spending more time on job-search websites than on their work.
Engagement is key. The senior leader must demonstrate that he cares about the organization, the employees, and the community. Employees take pride in managers who are competent and who show that they are concerned about the world outside the office windows. Indeed, pride is an important factor in worker satisfaction. Most people want their work to mean more than a paycheck.
They want to feel that they're part of something bigger than themselves, part of helping society in some way. When the organization becomes involved in the community in a positive way, the workers associate themselves with the resulting good will. That makes them happy, and with happier employees, an organization tends to see fewer health problems, fewer absences, and less turnover.
Another lesson for top bosses: Develop good lines of communication within your organization. Don't let internal communication become a one-way street, only pointing downward from the top. It has to move in every direction - top-down, bottom-up, sideways. Workers who believe their senior managers are good communicators are more likely to think of the organization as being open, fair, caring.
August 31, 2010; 1:47 PM ET
Category: A leader's team , Accomplishing Goals , Leadership Save & Share:
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