Employee mindsets have shifted from previous generations, according to current data. They want much more than a paycheck and seek interpersonal connections with their leaders. They desire purpose, significance and the fulfillment associated with making a difference in the workplace. Employees want to contribute value and enjoy meaningful work. They need assurances that they’ll be given the opportunity to succeed at the tasks they’re assigned. They want to be valued, supported and encouraged. They’re looking for leaders who will connect with them and meet these needs.
When employees’ needs go unmet, the organization also suffers. Morale and attitudes steeply decline, and engagement and work ethic follow suit. Productivity and effectiveness drop, and overall business performance significantly deteriorates.
Humble leaders are more adept at meeting people’s needs because they connect with them at the most basic human level, explain organizational leadership consultants Merwyn A. Hayes and Michael D. Comer in Start with Humility: Lessons from America’s Quiet CEOs on How to Build Trust and Inspire Followers (CreateSpace, 2010). Employees sense sincerity, care and openness in a humble leader. They see someone who puts a higher priority on people’s needs than his or her own. They value a leader who will help them succeed and develop into a better worker, which promotes purpose and self-esteem. Employees become inspired and respond with respect and trust.
When encountering humility, employees feel they are listened to and heard, and their best interests are served. They experience humble leaders growing and empowering them, rather than controlling or manipulating them. Humility allows leaders to relate to their people more personably, fairly and reasonably. Humble leaders deemphasize their own importance by emphasizing their people’s worth. And when you recognize the value of others, you foster deeper connection and build trust.
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