A Leadership Challenge of Today

By Leif Lyder Jensen, Lean, Life & Leadership 

Home of Lean, Life and Leadership

In today’s world all leadership positions are embedded with demands for constant change and the request for implementing improvement activities. This positions the leaders of today with the difficult task, of always to ensure that their employees follow and implement the changes in a positive and motivating way. For many leaders this remains as a challenge, and it raises the key question, how to ensure this?

Employees wants to be recognized for their work, and they want to be proud of, what they are delivering to their company as employee – and this we should not change. Instead it would be wise to look at, what is not going to change, and this is, what employees cares about.

  1. Income or any other kind of monetary rewards based on the work done is a basic need for the employee. This is often used by companies as a motivation factor, even though increased income or rewards are known as very short-term measures only.
  2. Physical and emotional safety in the job and at the working place are also basic needs, but a more long-term measure. Everybody wants to work in a safe environment, without dangers or threats of any kind, and where each individual employee and leader is treated with respect.
  3. Employees wants influence in changes of the working place, either by being positively and engaging informed, accepted as input providers, or directly involved through their personality in designing and implementation of the change activities. The more influence given, the more they will support the sustainability of the changes. By the employee influence is seen as a psychological need of being recognized and valued.
  4. In addition, personal development of the employee’s competences is requested, what means a structured approach to employees being constantly trained, involved and/or trusted in new processes. Personal competence development is a cognitive need and provides the employee an expectation to a long-term working relationship with the employer.
  5. Finally, the new generation of employees will request a much higher degree of self-actualization needs than earlier generations employees. They want freedom to act, flexibility to perform, and acceptance to be who they are as human beings – under their conditions. They want to be seen, and liked, just as they want to like the working place, why enhanced freedom and flexibility provided by the working place is/will become a key parameter.

Influencing these 5 parameters positively for employees will create enjoyment in the daily work, it will support change processes – even ensure sustainability, and in the end influence the company culture positively. This means, that it will generate happy, engaged, competent and loyal employees, which can support, ensure and transfer change activities in a safe and enjoyable way for everybody – what from a leader perspective is very enriching to work with.

So, start today caring positively about what employees care about – this will bring successful change projects, successful employees and a successful working place.