Too often, workers feel the work they're doing has no meaning. So how do you help them find purpose in their current job? Dr. Todd gives you food for thought on how to draw purpose out of daily tasks.
(exciting music) - You know what, I've been thinking about this a lot. We all want to feel purpose but few of us actually do and it doesn't have to be that way. You can have people see work as more than just a paycheck and if your team is not feeling a little purpose, that's on you, not them. I mean, sure, some jobs do lend themselves naturally to helping people feel purpose.
Think about your teachers, your entertainers, your artists, your doctors but hey, what about the rest of us, the engineers, the accountants, the people working retail at the mall? Well, yes, they too can feel a sense of purpose. I mean, every one of us clocks hours at the office but you can view that reality from many different perspectives, not just the hours but you know what, you're also building people, adding to your community and solving problems. All of these lead to a sense of purpose.
As a leader, that's your job to help them see that sense of purpose and guess what? It doesn't have to cost very much, if anything. Start by giving people voice. When they feel they have legit important input into the decisions that affect them, it makes all the difference in the world. Don't forget to show some gratitude. When people believe what they're doing is genuinely appreciated, well, they start to like the work even more. Now, be careful, you can't fake this.
You have to be sincere but show real gratitude. Remember to give people autonomy. Let me translate that. Don't micromanage. Don't hover over them tinkering in the process. Do your very best to manage outcomes, not process. Just step back and let your team do their jobs. Find ways to connect people to the outcomes. This one is golden. When you can show people the fruits of their labor, they believe in what they're doing even more.
It could be anything. If they help people get mortgages, show them pictures of happy families standing next to a new house. If they work on a construction crew, help them understand what was eventually built. It could be in person, a picture or a video. In any case, just make sure that they know the real contribution they actually made. Last but not least, you've got to remember to have a little fun. There are many ways you can do this at work. We got birthday celebrations, other holidays to celebrate, games, competitions, even socializing outside of work.
This is how you get to know people, not just the professionals. Smile, loosen up, have a little fun. Okay, every day, we get really tired. Lots of work that never ends. So how do you remember that your work sometimes has purpose? - I think that not focusing on the menial and thinking of the bigger picture is what drives me. - Yeah, I feel like just bringing a positive mindset into the workplace is the first place to start.
- I think sometimes it's good to see it as a whole machine. Of course, you don't want to be a cog in a machine but what is that machine producing and if it produces something that is genuinely helping society, knowing that you're part of that gives me purpose. - And also just realizing what you can bring as a person to the workplace. It's not just about the work you're doing but about the environment you're helping set up in the process. - I think about somebody somewhere else in a different part of their life who is in desperate need of what I have the opportunity to help create.
- So on your heaviest, more challenging days when you're lost in the weeds, what types of things do you do to try and remember the bigger picture and some of that purpose? - Well, I meditate to calm myself down. - I like to go for a little walk around, take a breath, take a breather, take a step back basically. - Put myself in the end user experience and I realize whatever I'm thinking about, it's just not really that important. - Sometimes it's good to remind yourself that our jobs day to day are not necessarily saving lives but we are improving lives.
- And you can kind of pull back and be like, okay, look, I've been through this before. It's been okay. - And you get that bigger perspective again. - So whatever we can do to keep ourselves sane but also knowing that we help others. - Your job has an educational value and you like to remember that once in a while. - Of course. - Nice. So stop right now allowing your team to think only about the paycheck. Get them focused on purpose. When you spend as much time thinking about the meaning in the work as the actual tasks, you might be surprised of the quality, amazing work your team delivers.