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7 Things That Motivated Employees Want Most 

As we showed in the previous blog on Leaders: Your #2 Priority Is Employee Engagement, there are some hefty benefits and savings to be gained from having a highly engaged workforce.

So why are these benefits and savings more prevalent in today’s workplace?

For years managers were taught that employees can be motivated by a mixture of rewards and punishment. I am not sure how true this ever was, but it certainly has about zero validity today.

In my experience as a leader, and from my decades of facilitating leadership development programs, I believe the large majority of people will raise themselves only to a leader’s lowest expectation of them.

Thus, the first place to start for improving employee engagement is for the leader to raise their expectations of his or her team members. Leaders have to create an environment where their team members accept the challenge to step up and perform at higher levels. It is the leader’s responsibility to drive participation of the people she or he leads. People Development | Talent Development

The corollary to this is that the leader also has to involve the team members in determining how to execute at higher levels. Employee engagement does not result from a top-down, command-and-control approach. In fact, this style of leadership typically deflates employee engagement and sparks active employee disengagement.

Employee engagement is not rocket science. But it does require placing an organization-wide focus on leading people to achieve results over an emphasis on getting things done and improving productivity ratios.

Increasing employee engagement may be as simple as leaders focusing on the seven things that motivated team members want most:

  • A sense of purpose, to know they are contributors.
  • Some amount of autonomy, particularly in deciding how to accomplish a given task.
  • A safe workplace environment to express their questions and concerns and to learn from mistakes.
  • Empathy from their supervisors and leaders.
  • Professional and personal improvement.
  • Coaching and mentoring.
  • On-going education opportunities.

Not surprisingly, nearly half of these seven items are related to personal development, which is why I say increasing employee engagement is the second top priority for leaders after the development of their team members and direct reports.It also means that increasing employee engagement is directly related to increasing personal and team development. Both are critical areas of importance for leaders.

What do you think? Please add your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions in the comments section below.

This article is excerpted from my book Great Leadership Words of Wisdom, which is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats and has over 1000 quotes on leadership from global business leaders, statesmen, athletes, coaches, sages, and philosophers.


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