If you’re a leader, your employees want certain things from you. I’m not talking about selfish stuff here. I’m not talking about free trips to Tahiti or shopping sprees to Neman Marcus. In fact, most of the things your employees want won’t “cost” you anything financially. I’m talking about simple but profound actions that demonstrate your commitment, courage and confidence as their leader. 

Number 10: They want to know you see them doing a good job

We never really outgrow the desire for show and tell. I mean, not really. We still love it when people notice us and the work we do. Take time to notice accomplishments and give praise consistently for a job well done. Don’t fall into the mindset that says, “Praising employees for a job well done will create an entitlement mentality.” That’s just silly. Praise energizes the good employee. So, unless you’re dealing with a trouble maker, praise isn’t going to hurt them. 

Number 9: They want you to challenge them with compassion

Good employees want to be challenged and stretched to grow and exceed expectations. They are not looking for a free ride and they are willing to hear even tough messages from you that will make them better. But, they also want you to remember they are human beings. They don’t want the message wrapped in harsh or caustic tones. They don’t need unnecessary “eye rolling” or “sigh of disapproval.” You say a lot with your tone, your face and your posture. Say it with compassion and you’re challenge will make more of an impact. 

Number 8: They want you to “act” what you “expect” 

Your employees know you’re not perfect. Heck, everyone knows you’re not perfect. Don’t worry it’s “out there.” So, they are not looking for you to be perfect in all ways. But, they do want you to be authentic. If you expect certain behaviors or attitudes from them, they want you to consistently demonstrate the same. The more inconsistent your expectations (for them) and your own behavior (toward them) becomes, the less confidence they have in your leadership. 

Number 7: They want you to connect the dots

Your employees want to be engaged in meaningful work. When they are, their energy level skyrockets. But, sometimes they forget why their work is meaningful. They need you to connect or reconnect the dots. They need you to remind them how their daily work adds value to the overall mission of the team and/or the organization. The more you connect the dots, the more you energize the person. 

Number 6: They want you to (really) listen

Listening is a lost art. We all long to be listened to. I’m not talking about having another person “hear us.” I’m talking about a deeper understanding that comes when another person can articulate back to us an accurate assessment of our thoughts and feelings. I’m talking about the moment when we say, “Yes, you GET me.” That’s a powerful moment. And, your employees want you to “get” them. You don’t even have to agree with them on all fronts. But, you can demonstrate an understanding that creates a good bond between you and them. 


Stay tuned for the next five. 


PS How do I know your employees want these things? Well, one way I know is because you want these very same things from your leader. Right?