020: What Your Team Needs to Thrive, Part 6: To Feel Valued
Release Date: 04/30/2019
To create a healthy company culture, you need to get to know your employees’ needs and wants. We're continuing our podcast series on what your team needs to thrive. This week: your team’s need to feel valued.
In episode 18 we introduced the idea of growing healthier teams as a function of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In order, they are survival, safety, belonging, importance, and self-actualization. Highly engaged, connected team members become the norm in a culture where an individual’s importance and value are reinforced and celebrated.
There are very few individuals who have the capacity to function at a high level of impact and influence without the support and encouragement of at least a small community of people who cheer for, encourage, and challenge them in their process.
Even those of us who function as independent entrepreneurs need a band of brothers and sisters, a community. That implies that we are willing to know and to be known. With your team, it’s important they know that what matters to them matters to you. It really comes down to a very simple equation: a little time plus empathy equals the communication of importance and value.
We’re introducing a key word to our leadership vocabulary: empathy. As Albert Einstein said, “Empathy is patiently and sincerely seeing the world through the other person’s eyes. It is not learned in school; it is cultivated over a lifetime.”
Empathy and sympathy are different. Sympathy is pity, and it’s not a long-term motivator. Empathy is an understanding and a willingness to share the feelings of others. It says, “That sucks. I am so sorry,” and “What do you need from me?”
I recently worked with a group of young leaders who said the number one behavior they valued in a team was empathy. Empathy communicates value.
How do you integrate empathy in your team? Train your leadership that empathy is a core leadership value. Set the standard that you as a team are going to communicate value and appreciation for every member and that you’re going to do that by expressing genuine trust and empathy.
Integrating empathy, recognition, and appreciation into your engagement strategy must be intentional and consistent in order to get the return on investment. Whatever you do, don’t try this simply as one more strategic initiative. If empathy and appreciation feel insincere, your team will pull back, become self-protective, and disengage.
If we want people to love their work, we’re going to have to love the people. In the workplace, love values others. It’s a deep appreciation, respect, and dignity for another. Start today by extending sincere empathy and offering recognition and appreciation for their contributions.
If you take care of your people, they will take care of your clients and your business.
Healthy cultures should be a pressure relief for leaders: Drama is reduced, confusion is diminished, accountability improves, and the team focuses on results, not personal agendas.
If this sounds like heaven to you but you often find yourself doing a slow burn in hell, let’s talk.
We offer a great diagnostic tool to determine the strengths and liabilities in your organization. It’s a relatively pain-free process by which we obtain feedback from your team members to identify the roadblocks and blind spots in your pursuit of a healthy team.
Connect with me for a free, complimentary conversation about our process. It won’t cost you more than 30 minutes of your time to find out if some feedback would be valuable for you and your team.
Till next week: “better you, better team, better business, better life.”