If you intend to lead others, you need to give them not only reasons to follow you but also reasons to be part of your organization. Often a sense of belonging comes down to feeling good about what you do as well as how you do it. Call it pride of purpose.
Every manager should want his employees to manifest similar pride, but reality tells us that this occurs all too infrequently. So the challenge for managers becomes how to instill genuine pride in the team so that employees feel proud of what they do and the company for which they work.
Instilling such pride is never easy. Real pride is not happy talk; it is pride centered on purpose. Employees who love what they do and the organization to which they belong demonstrate their support for their organization in words, but most especially, in actions. They do whatever is necessary to get the job done and done right. That is the kind of pride every employer should strive to engender.
Managers seeking to instill such pride need to ask three crucial questions:
1. How well do my employees understand what is expected of them?
Most companies do an excellent job of defining tasks, but sometimes fall short when explicating roles and responsibilities. When this occurs, employees may not know who does what or why. This is how things fall through the cracks, leaving bosses and employees scrambling to make do with last-minute changes.
Good managers make certain their people know not only their own jobs but everyone else’s too. Such managers also encourage others to pitch in when their work slackens and another teammate’s increases.
2. How well do my employees know how their work complements the greater whole?
Companies often do not take enough time to compliment their people for a good job. Worse, they fail to demonstrate how employees’ contributions help the company succeed. Therefore, it falls to the manager to create the links that show how what someone does in purchasing improves quality of products, how an accountant ensures a more robust bottom line, or how a customer service representative builds loyalty with customers. These tasks, and so many more, are important to corporate success.
3. What can I do to foster more pride?
Company mission statements that recognize employee value are worthwhile, but it is the manager who brings them alive. This is where the manager praises from the front. Successful managers I know make a habit of acknowledging accomplishments of individuals in front of the team. These managers make it clear that team success relies upon individual contributions.
Now comes the tough part. The answers to these questions will likely mean the manager will have to do more. This is the part of management that requires leadership, the willingness to do what is necessary to help the team become more productive, and by extension more aware of their personal contributions. When they do, pride ensues.
Pride is essential; we want our employees to express it, but as with all things prideful, too much of it can be onerous. We call that arrogance—it turns people off. Organizations that manifest arrogance get into trouble because they overlook issues, ignore customer concerns, and even alienate employees.
Pride, on the other hand, turns people on, and that is what we want to encourage. Pride in the work is essential to fostering a more energized workplace. And when employees feel such energy they are more likely to want to come to work and do a good job. Morale improves, too, and few workplaces can do without a strong team spirit.
© 2010 John Baldoni. All rights reserved. Excerpted with permission of the publisher from 12 Steps to Power Presence: How to Assert Your Authority to Lead, by John Baldoni. Published by AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, www.amacombooks.org