Addressing the needs of your people

If you have been practicing formal leadership this past year, you may have changed the way you sell your services or products, and perhaps even built new competences, but most definitely you have seen changes in the people you lead and how they work.

Some employees may have been thriving on the flexibility and focus gained by working from home, while others may have struggled, psychologically or socially.

There is an ebb and flow to changing tides and what has washed up on shore this time around are new needs from organisations and the people driving them. Needs that should be addressed by their leaders.

A recent Harvard Business Review article on ‘surviving’ change states:

Reflecting on recent stories of organizational change, no single lesson comes across as clearly as one related to leadership — specifically, the need for more of it from more people (…) There is a strong need to reconstruct the modern organization and create an environment that fosters more autonomy, participation, and leadership.

So, where to start?

What comes to mind is the Self Determination Theory model from Deci and Ryan (later evolved by Daniel Pink). It is very handy to reflect on the needs of the people you lead and tune in on what keeps them motivated.

Based on this theory, we have extracted some key questions – plane and simple. And you don't have to be in a leadership role to benefit from asking yourself or others. 

  • Looking at your team, do they seem to find their work purposeful? People become disengaged if they don't understand, or cannot invest in, the bigger picture. Is it clear how they are making a difference.
  • Has your employees’ sense of autonomy changed the last year? People have the need to direct their own life and work to be fully motivated. Do they have the right kind of autonomy?
  • Do your people have opportunities to evolve in areas that matter to them? The desire to develop skills is of high value, do you offer them room to grow?
  • How has the past year influenced the social fabric of your team? Working with people we actually care about fosters a feeling of belonging. Are people committed to each other, and is there trust between them?

Care for some more inspiration? We will talk about the status of the leadership role at our online event Leadership in a Time of Change on September 23rd. Please come join!