Give your team what they want


As a leader, one of the biggest challenges is understanding and delivering the things your employees want. CEEK is a big proponent of Servant Leadership— putting the needs of the employees first and helping people develop and perform as highly as possible. In order to serve, however, one must know the needs of their team.

So, take a moment and think – what motivates your team?

Back in August, job site Indeed published a blog post detailing a survey asking 1,000 tech workers what they value when it comes to company culture and benefits. When you think about today’s tech workplace, the picture that probably comes to mind includes perks like on-site gyms, elaborate snack bars, bring your pet to work day, etc.

Perks aren’t enough if there are fundamental differences between what employees want and what the company can provide. It’s made even worse if the company says it can do one thing but actually doesn’t. Work-Place hypocrisy is one of the biggest de-motivators of workers today. This is when the professed values of the organization are different than the observed behaviors. Perks can paper over this disconnect for a little while, but not forever.

So, what motivates your team? Money? Vacation time? Foosball tables and cold-brew coffee on tap? Indeed’s survey of tech workers says the number one characteristic valued in a company is Transparent Leadership.

Fancy offices and a cafeteria that serves quinoa cakes are less attractive to workers than the kinds of intangible benefits that you can deliver to your team right now. And with a full 89% of those surveyed saying transparent leadership was important in a company’s culture, we can’t help but believe this result extends beyond the tech industry.

As a Servant Leader in a situation where workplace hypocrisy is impacting your team’s motivation, what can you do? The answer is to connect your team to the parts of the company culture they value the most – and change the culture of your team to meet the needs of the employees. What can you do in the circle of things you can influence to meet the needs of your team? You’ll have to get to know your team, to understand why they do what they do. But this is all part of being a servant leader anyway.

You can practice Transparent Leadership without a change in work hours, a policy from HR, or even permission from your boss. Be proactive in sharing where the company is headed, both the good news and the bad news. Meet often with your team and one-on-one to talk about work. Model the behavior you want to see from your team. Share problems and lessons learned. Be enthusiastic and positive, express encouragement and sincere appreciation. These are simple steps to be more transparent, to create a culture within your team that is aligned with what they need.

The benefits of this kind of alignment are well-documented, and the results are inevitably higher levels of performance from your team. Find a way to motivate your team, and they will find ways to make the team successful in ways your company or organization immediately recognize. Culture is the glue that holds those things together, and as a leader your task is to CEEK a Better Way™ to create a team culture that gives your team what they want.

For the record, the top four characteristics valued in a company are:

  1. Transparent Leadership
  2. Giving back to the community
  3. Shared values
  4. Commitment to employee development