Providing a Clear Picture of Their Purpose

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employee purpose

Earlier, we looked at how important it is for anyone in a leadership role to paint a clear picture of the organizational purpose they’re working toward so each member of their teams could have something tangible to connect with. While that was a broad reference that I only touched on in passing as we wrapped up our look at why each leader needs an extremely clear purpose of their own, it’s time for us to take a very specific look at how we provide every individual we lead with a clear picture of their own purpose - especially since the steps verbalizing their purpose based on what they’ve told us and shown us are so fresh in our minds!

As I detailed the importance of learning to really know each person we lead, I shared how Pat Lencioni defined anonymity in The Truth About Employee Engagement and why it’s critical that we invest our time and energy into recognizing what makes them tick. Now let’s consider the other two things Lencioni said contribute to a miserable job; irrelevance and immeasurability.

He explained the irrelevance this way:

Everyone needs to know that their job matters, to someone. Anyone. Without seeing a connection between the work and the satisfaction of another person or group of people, an employee simply will not find lasting fulfillment. Even the most cynical employees need to know that their work matters to someone, even if it’s just the boss.

Pat went on to share this about immeasurability:

Employees need to be able to gauge their progress and level of contribution for themselves. They cannot be fulfilled in their work if their success depends on the opinions or whims of another person, no matter how benevolent that person may be. Without a tangible means for assessing the success or failure, motivation eventually deteriorates as people see themselves as unable to control their own fate.

I certainly agree that eliminating each of those three causes of job misery can be significant in earning employee engagement - the kind that leaders to a 57% increase in discretionary effort and a 20% uptick in individual productivity - but I believe the steps we take in doing so can have every bit as much impact on providing our team members with a clear picture of their own purpose - which can help them achieve fulfillment in all aspects of their lives. Once we understand what truly matters to them, and we recognize how we best connect our message to those things they care most about, we can articulate the relevance of their work in the exact way that will mean the most to them. In doing that, we have the opportunity to show them how much of a difference they truly make - so we’ll pick up there next time…