Great Leaders Make Life Better for Their Followers
People follow leaders who promise to take them to a better place, however they define “better place.” That aspiration varies by person. It could be the traditional opportunity for advancement. It could be a better “work/life” balance (as if work was not part of life!) Whatever the goal, a transformational leader finds out how each of his or her followers defines personal success, and ties that aspiration to the mission’s goal as practicably as possible.
This must be your priority as a leader because, whatever your followers’ goals, they will pour more passion and engagement into their work if they can forge a personal bond with the organization’s mission.
What does it mean to “make their lives better”?
How do your team members define personal success?
- Where do they want to be in five years?
- Are they striving for more responsibility or advancement?
- Do they want fresh challenges or skill improvement?
- Are they content to stay in their current position because they have a great professional/personal life balance?
- Are they struggling to get more personal time to improve their family life?
- Are they focused on retirement in a few years? On what terms could they retire? Can they help with the succession?
- Do they want a better relationship with you?
Each follower has their own definition of “better” and you need to find out what that is, and collaborate with each employee to create a plan to achieve it within the team’s effort to achieve its organizational goals.
Do you lead in a way that attracts followers?
If you make progress on understanding the motivations of your employees, and foster emotional ties between those motivations and the team’s (and the organization’s) mission, you will find that people start seeking you out as “a person to work for.” When you have an opening (hopefully caused by getting one of your people promoted), you find it easy to fill the position with a great candidate because they are lined up outside your door waiting for the chance to join the team.
Developing your people in the way they wish to develop professionally will raise their contribution rates measurably. This happens because their extra energy is aligned with the actions you need to take to achieve your mission.
Do you already take some of these transformational steps to engage your team and raise their productivity? Which ones have you used? How quickly did you get good at applying these developmental tools? What other tools will you use that you have not yet?
And, what have we left out of this post that you have found useful in transforming your team into a highly engaged and productive group of people?