Are They Getting What They Want

Clarity
February 19, 2024
Clarity
February 19, 2024

“What does the team really want?” is a question that I quite often pose to the organisational leaders I work with. The answers are many and varied simply because they work in an ever-evolving, dynamic industry or situation, and therefore, their answers also need to be continually changing.

Of course, the usual suspects always get trotted out at this time:

  1. Leadership
  2. Recognition
  3. Money

To be honest, these are all good answers and, in many instances, the right ones. However, they are not the only applicable answers to the question, and it is the other answers I want us to explore today.

The reality is that in this short article, we won’t even get close to covering all of the possible and applicable alternatives. However, I will do my best to highlight what I believe are some of the key answers that you might want to consider.

But before we do, I want to raise the issue of money or financial reward as there is always an ongoing debate about where money sits in the pecking order of what people want.

Research continues to show that money is ranked around 6-7th in the top 10 things people want from their jobs. However, the response from the majority of leaders and individuals seems to contradict this research.

For me, there will always be those people for whom the only basis for the working relationship between you and them is the amount you pay them. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well, to be honest, this is not my place to tell you where that should fit into your thinking and approach to employee engagement. That is something you need to work out for yourself.

But if money has become the pre-eminent key to the relationship, I would say you haven’t shown any true value in some of the other benefits that you believe you provide. So before you start calling the team an ungrateful bunch of mercenary so-and-sos, take a step back and analyse how you can better use what you provide to bring increased value to the people you lead.

Ok, now let’s get back to a few other key considerations in what you can provide:

Pride and Respect
Ensure they are operating in a way where they can feel proud of what they do and how they do it. Correspondingly, without necessarily putting them on a pedestal, it also provides an opportunity for them to earn respect for what they do and how they do it.

Consistency
More than anything, your team wants consistency of approach from you—consistency in standards, approach belief, and values. How you approach individuals may differ because of who they are, what they do, and what they need, but above and beyond that, they can clearly see and understand that you know who you are, what you are doing, where you are headed, and why. And they see this through your consistency of belief, desire, action, and approach.

Role acknowledgement
They want to know that their role is an integral part of the success you seek. You should show them that although roles may differ, each and every one of them is important, and you should show them how much you respect the role they fulfil. At the same time, you should continually educate the team about the fact that although roles may differ, none are any less or more important than another; they are just different.

To become better
I don’t care who you are or what you do; every one, in some aspect of their life, wants to be better at something. Create an environment and a culture that allows people to realise they are better for being part of this team.

If they ain’t right, they shouldn’t be here
You can bang on about culture, team, goals, values, etc, but if you allow someone who everyone knows isn’t suited to the team to stay on as part of the team, I guarantee you as the leader will lose the support of the team. More than anything, the team and the individuals within it will want to see decisions made and actions taken that are congruent with what has been spoken about in regard to ‘this is who we are’ and ‘this is what we are about’ and ‘this is what we stand for’.

Understanding
They want to know that you understand their predicament. Far too often the theory of what needs to be done and by when doesn’t match up with the practical reality. They want you to be able to see it and understand it from their point of view so that outcomes get achieved, the way they need to, in the time frame that it is required but without them being spat out the other side just in time to be told it’s time to go again.

Organisation and planning
They want to see flow and fluency from one job and project and focus on to the next. Now, sometimes, external influences make this hard to accomplish, but when it is out of your control, show them the element of adjustment and planning around how it will all eventually work. Don’t fly by the seat of your pants and then expect them to follow the process.

Be kept in the picture
Nobody likes to be blindsided. Do what you can, where you can, and as often as possible to keep them in the loop. Obviously, there will be times when you can’t share every piece of information. However, if you have developed a great culture, they will understand that, but as much as possible, let them know what is going on and why.

Rationale
Following on from above, they might not agree with everything you tell them or even like what’s being said, but they will dislike it a whole lot more if there doesn’t seem to be any strong, feasible rationale behind the decision or direction that is being made. Once again, just because you have a well-founded rationale doesn’t mean they will agree, like it, or even buy into it. But without rationale, they will never get it on any level.

They want to win
Yes, they do. But what is winning? This is the $64,000 question, and you and them better have a mutual agreement on the answer. But once the answer is known, do everything you can to help them and help themselves achieve that win.

And in doing so, watch as…

The Journey Continues!

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