You Matter!

authentic leadership earning leadership employee engagement employee experience how to create a positive work environment leadership leadership culture positive work environment signs of a miserable job May 11, 2022
How to Create a Positive Work Environment

Let’s assume we’ve accepted our leadership responsibility and we’ve actually following through by doing the work necessary to make sure our team members are indeed measuring the right things so they have a clear picture of their performance AND we’ve provided them with absolute clarity about how those things have a tangible impact on the people who depend on them… I’d argue that just by putting those two things in place, we’ve eliminated a large majority of the potential suck that could possibly be associated with working for us! Quite frankly, doing those two things well for our team members should even give them a way to almost enjoy what they do without us ever telling them how great they’ve got it… Seriously though, there’s still one more thing we can do as leaders to make sure working for us doesn’t suck - but this one can’t be delegated!

A fellow I met around seven years ago, who now serves as the Executive Vice President of Internal Communications at Maxwell Leadership (which means basically any message we see about John Maxwell around the world today falls in his lap), closes every message he shares on his personal social media accounts, his emails, and just about every conversation with the phrase, “You Matter!” His intention there is to emphasize to everyone who hears from him that they can make a difference in the people they come in contact with. Let’s be honest, that’s a message the world certainly needs today!

Here’s where that ties back to that one thing we can do as leaders but can’t delegate… We need to show every single individual on our teams that they matter - to us! And this is really what will separate the pretenders from the contenders! This requires a huge commitment but the results will far outweigh the investment - in so many ways.

In 2010, I was offered a position where I would have had global responsibility for a specific safety initiative within the manufacturing company I had worked with for nearly 15 years. I had invested a tremendous amount of time and energy into becoming the very best in that process within the entire company. That said, the CEO of that company would likely have never known my name even if I had accepted the role unless something major happened that resulted in him seeing it in an email - like me being kidnapped or killed in some other country… I was a small fish in a very big pond! Even in a role with global responsibility across dozens of countries and about 80 facilities, I would still be basically anonymous….

The third key that Patrick Lencioni (2022 Live2Lead speaker) emphasizes in The Truth About Employee Engagement for making sure our employees aren’t miserable is eliminating that anonymity. As leaders, this is where we have a unique opportunity to really show our team members that THEY MATTER! This isn’t about how well they do their jobs; if we’ve helped them know what to measure, they’ll be keenly aware of that already. And it’s not about whether or not they’re making an impact on the people who depend on the work they’re doing; that should be something we’ve built into simply explaining their daily tasks. This is where it gets personal! We’ve got to show them we’re truly interested in them. I’ll say again just in case you missed it earlier: This CANNOT be delegated!

As we work to build each of these things into everything we do, it’s pretty safe to say working for us won’t suck. That’s certainly not suggesting that the work will get easier or that no one will ever be unhappy, but it will definitely make a tangible impact. And you know all those “Now Hiring” signs we see everywhere? I’d bet we’ll have far less need for them because great people will want to stick with us and they’ll probably start actively recruiting the people they care about and respect to join the team with them!

I realize this won’t solve all the problems for every organization; the pretenders I mentioned earlier will fight doing these things with every fiber of their being… I just won’t feel sorry for them when they can’t find or keep great people!