Leaders have to get outside their own heads enough to see to it that the minds and passions of their employees are fully engaged for the greater good of the entire organization.
This is Not Your Daddy’s Era
That’s the real test of a leader in this decade, because employees are accustomed to choosing careers that don’t just pay the bills but also reward them on multifaceted personal levels. People used to sign-on with companies and stay whether they were happy and personally fulfilled or not. These days, though, even with high unemployment and rampant downsizing, high potentials want a holistic career experience.
Stimulate and Motivate
Nowadays a great employee may join a company because it has a stellar track record of philanthropy, for example, or because it is a leader in environmental or human rights issues that resonate with that person on a heartfelt level. Or they may just as quickly leave your organization because they don’t feel that you are stimulating their minds enough or pushing them to do more and fully engage their talent, intelligence, and passion!
What’s Your Workplace Happiness Index?
Highly engaged employees get higher performance results, too, so get to know your team and understand what makes them tick. As you may know, there are researchers who calculate the “happiness index” of nations around the world. Similarly, you need to do that kind of study in-house to gauge the satisfaction of your team players. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do that is to use tools like internal surveys, 360-reviews, employee focus groups, and an open door policy that encourages input and feedback from everyone.
Physician Heal Thyself
But don’t forget that if you are in a position of leadership you need to apply these wise and fruitful strategies to yourself, too. Are you engaged enough, and do you feel that your company is making the most of your presence within its ranks? When was the last time you took a class that stimulated your creative side, or entered into a relationship as a mentor or mentee that challenged and fulfilled you? Even the best athletes in the world need constant coaching, training, and encouragement – so sign up for some now if you’re feeling an inspiration deficit!
What Are You Doing with Your Life?
Pause to reevaluate your work/life balance and make sure that you have your priorities aligned in a healthy and appropriate manner. Examine your goals and dreams. Are you working toward them right now, or did they get pushed to a neglected back burner? Stay actively engaged, aware, interested, and keep reinventing yourself in bigger and better ways that make you feel really, really good inside!
All leaders have to nurture themselves before they place demands on others. Then share your growth and development with those who look up to you as their role model. They depend on you for vital inspiration!
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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion System™.
Blog, Ezine & Website: www.illustraconsulting.com
Copyright © 2012, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS