In order to become a truly magnificent leader – and to consistently lead with and from your heart – it’s crucial you never forget that the employees you manage and supervise are human beings.
Something so obvious tends to easily get lost in the workplace, otherwise I wouldn’t be making a point of emphasizing it.
Even more important to remember is that your workers (as humans) have essential needs and it’s your job as the leader to help ensure they get met.
Why is it your responsibility to help your employees meet all these needs?
Because satisfying them is what drives and motivates the highest ambition and initiative. By purposely and intentionally helping your employees to fulfill their needs, you’ll naturally inspire the most extraordinary engagement and productivity.
I recently saw author, Tony Robbins, give a brief presentation on Ted.com titled Why We Do What We Do. Based on the seminal work of psychologist Abraham Maslow, Robbins says modern day human motivation is tied to meeting six fundamental needs.
I’d like to share Robbins’ list with you and offer some brief suggestions on how you can help your employees fulfill them:
- Certainty: We all need certitude that our basic needs are met and not in jeopardy. We also need to feel comfortable and without pain. Leaders who build enduring traditions and rituals within their teams tend to solidify employee feelings of certainty. This instills a very powerful sense of well being in people. Importantly, people are far more focused on their work assignments when made to feel secure in their jobs.
- Uncertainty: Humans also need variety. Anything done repetitively tends to become dull and even joyless. In Lead From The Heart, we learned that giving employees special assignments and tasks has the effect of making the more mundane aspects of their job more enjoyable. When leaders create stretch assignments or give employees permission to do some work they personally love doing, engagement soars.
- Significance: Deep down, every one of us wants to feel important – to believe we are special in some way. So find what’s unique in every person you lead and tell each employee directly how much you value them and their wonderful talents. Tell them how important they are to you and to the success of your team.
- Connection: People require friendship, relationships and love. What’s the best way to tend to the hearts in your employees? Build a personal relationship with them. In a professional manner, demonstrate in as many ways as possible that you care for them. Leaders who have the guts to show their feelings for their employees foster the greatest human achievement.
- Growth: Robbins believes the reason we seek to grow is in order to contribute more – so we can give our world something of value. My advice: never let anyone become stale. Find as many ways as you can to develop the people who work for you. And teach them skills you’ve already mastered.
- To Contribute Beyond Ourselves: People are seeking a sense of meaning and purpose in life and to feel fulfilled by the work they do. They want to make a difference. So, it’s critical that leaders tell employees how their efforts impact the greater organization and ensure everyone knows the mission they’re supporting. Service to others is perhaps the most noble of human endeavors and can therefore be the most inspiring.
La Jolla resident, Mark C. Crowley is the author of "Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For the 21st Century. To learn more or to read more of his leadership blogs go to his website markccrowley.com.