Understand why feeling a sense of purpose in your work is so important. Learn how to build a feeling of purpose by building positive relationships, recognizing others, and connecting people to the outcomes they support.
- So why do you do what you do at work every day? Why do you even show up? I mean, what's your purpose? By purpose, I'm referring to a higher-level feeling that what you do matters. Think about it. Work without purpose is just a paycheck. People just showing up to earn a paycheck experience no serious joy, no real engagement, no desire to take risks in the name of change and improvement, and they certainly are not loyal to you or the organization.
Okay, but where does purpose come from? For an interesting minority of professionals, it's derived from what I call fit. Fit is when you have alignment between your personality, skills, and your job. You fit, and as a result, tend to like your job enough to appreciate it, to feel a little pride, and yes, some amount of purpose. However, finding fit can be difficult. But as a leader, you can still push your employees closer to experiencing purpose.
You do this three different ways. The first is by creating and maintaining positive relationships at work. Great teams do have strong standards and accountability, but they also have comradery, supportive and helping behaviors, and a lot of fun, social rapport. Remember, no jerks are allowed on great teams. And as the leader, you are the primary manager of positive emotions and relationships. Second is recognition and rewards. Remember, beyond a smile or a thank you.
They do need to earn the recognition they receive. But don't neglect the opportunities to show your appreciation. Whether it's a catered lunch, a superstar employee award, or some form of group celebration, be sure they know how much you appreciate both their efforts and the great outcomes they create. If you're interested, I have another short course in the library you might enjoy called Rewarding Employees. Finally, and this one is my favorite, you can find creative ways to connect your employees to the ultimate outcomes they support.
You see, most jobs are pretty narrow. This man conducts a certain type of analysis. This woman handles customer orders. That team over there handles everything in the warehouse. Everyone plays a small part in the organization. You have to help them see the big picture. If you manage loan analysts, maybe you should follow up with a few new homeowners and grab a picture or video you can share with the team. Or maybe you invite the CEO to stop by and talk to your purchasing team so she can explain how vital their role is in making the organization work.
If you manage a team of nurses, you'd better follow up with a few former patients and ask them to stop by when it's convenient so the team can realize that they matter. That's how employees come to understand the interesting outcomes that happen after they do their portion of the work. And only then can they feel a genuine sense of purpose.
- Establish identity as a manager.
- Identify best practices for clarifying performance expectations.
- List effective communication tips.
- Articulate the main elements of effective feedback.
- Define rapport.
- Distinguish types of decision-making styles.
- Signal fairness and integrity.
- Articulate how to best assert authority.