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How to Make Work More Meaningful for Your Team

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Today, many employees demand much more than a good salary from their jobs. Money may lure people into a particular position, but purpose and meaning determines both people’s tenure and how hard they will work while they’re on the job.

Research shows that employees experiencing meaningful work report better health, well-being, teamwork and engagement. In other words, they are more likely to thrive and grow when they experience their job as meaningful.

Over the past few decades, a great deal of research has shown that leaders play a significant role in helping workers understand why their roles matter. In particular, four key personality characteristics can help leaders make other people’s jobs more meaningful:

Being Curious And Inquisitive

Curious leaders help people find meaning at work by exploring, asking questions and engaging people in ideas about the future. These leaders help employees find something meaningful by providing a wider range of possibilities for how work gets done. Curious leaders are also more likely to get bored and detest monotony, so they will always be looking for people to come up with new ideas to make their own work experience more interesting.

Being Challenging And Relentless

One of the greatest problems organizations must solve is the inertia and stagnation that follow success, or even its anticipation. Research shows that optimistic people who expect to do well don’t try as hard as people who expect to struggle or fail. Leaders who remain ambitious in the face of both failure and success instill a deeper sense of purpose in their teams and organizations.

Hiring For Values And Culture Fit

Research shows that people only find something valuable if it aligns with their core needs and motives. This is why the fit between an individual’s personal values and the culture of the organization he works for is such an important driver of his performance. Leaders who pay attention to what each individual values are more likely to hire people who find it easy to connect with their colleagues and the wider organization, which helps to drive a sense of meaning.

Being Able To Trust People

Most people hate being micromanaged. Overpowering and controlling bosses are serious source of disempowerment for employees, draining the impact of their work and making them feel worthless. In stark contrast, leaders who know how to trust people are more likely to give employees room to experiment and grow.

Whereas engagement results in enthusiasm, drive and motivation — all of which increases performance — happiness can lead to complacency. To be a good leader, focus on helping employees find meaning in their achievements, rather than just enjoy their time at the office.

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