Leaders – What Employees Really Want From You

Are your employees looking around for a new manager? Don’t lose them by default. Discover what employees want and help them achieve it.

Learn what motivates high performance and commitment. Here’s what today’s employees want from you:

1. Give employees the ball

Talented employees don’t want to be told what to do. Rather they want to be asked for their opinions and given responsibility to achieve specific goals. With certain limits they want to make the decisions, develop a plan of action, and figure out what’s necessary to move forward. They are willing do small tasks if it relates to a larger project. But when you ask these individuals to complete minor tasks without knowing why, they perceive it as grunt work. Basically, the more autonomy you can extend knowledge workers to achieve their goals, the more willing they are to be involved and get results.

2. Let them do it their way

Too much direction and advice are insulting to today’s knowledge workers. These employees have their own way of tackling projects and getting results. Knowledge workers don’t want you to impose your way of doing things on them. They have a pattern and rhythm that works for them and they want to use it. Allow them to complete project in their own way as long as accomplishes the objective and doesn’t interfere with other employees or processes.

3. Respect their input and ideas

Nothing annoys an employee more than being overlooked or ignored in areas where they have expertise. They are insulted when you do not consult them on decisions in areas they can offer expert advice-even if it falls outside the strict parameters of their job. The developer wants to be included when her prototype is being reviewed while a project manager wants to have a say in how his project is modified and changed. Take time to involve employees in key decisions and welcome their input.

4. Allow employees time to think

Thinking is the knowledge worker’s stock and trade. These employees need both time and space to think about new ideas and make plans for the future. Time away from the office and away from the pressure of daily activities and immediate demands is essential. Knowledge workers want time to explore and consider new ideas without having to account for every minute they spend in and out of the office. Allow individuals to plan their schedule with some flexibility and have time away from the office.

5. Help employees deal with conflicts

Capable employees don’t like getting mired in turf issues and destructive interpersonal dynamics. Many are not adept at handling conflicts and political infighting-they see it as a petty distraction to the work that needs to get done. Thus, they prefer to work around, ignore, and avoid dealing with conflicts and difficult personalities impeding progress. Yet sometimes the problems caused by these disruptions are too great to ignore. Knowledge workers need your help confronting difficult issues and addressing them. As a leader of knowledge workers, you must get involved, help them confront tough issues and make sure problems are resolved.

Talented employees want to contribute and make a difference. They relish learning, collaborating with colleagues and stretching their minds and abilities. As their manager you can help them succeed. When they win – you win.

About the Author

Faith Ralston is an expert in leadership and team development and Chief Talent Officer of the Play to Your Strengths consulting group. Faith has 30 years of experience helping leaders improve performance and results. She specializes in dealing with leadership teams and helping everyone contribute their best talents.

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