Number 5: Employees (the good ones) want you to give them opportunities to expand/excel

Your best employees want to expand their capabilities and responsibilities. Insecure leaders are afraid of this idea because of how it could reflect on them. But, the best leaders know, that leading is about the development and celebration of others–not the inflation of the self.

Number 4: Employees want you to challenge them

Employees really don’t mind challenge. What they don’t like is a challenge that comes from negativity, a harsh tone, or manipulation. Good employees know that they have places where they can grow. And, they’re not afraid to make changes. The key here: delivery matters. Deliver challenge in an inspiring and candid manner and watch employees rise to the occasion.

Number 3: Employees want you to keep them “in the loop”

Ah yes, the “in the loop” desire. We all want to be in the loop. Of course, there are times you can’t divulge what you know–for a variety of reasons. But, employees understand that. In fact, most of the things you can’t divulge are things good employees really don’t want to know about. What good employees want to understand are things like: 1) where are we going? 2) what changes are going to effect the team or my work? 3) How does my work tie into the larger mission? 4) How are big organizational wide decisions or initiatives coming along–especially the ones I can’t control but affect me? Keeping people informed shows respect.

Number 2: Employees want you to let them “push back”

The best employees have thoughts about how to make things better. In fact, leaders often lament that employees are not “engaged” enough in “making things happen.” Perfect. Employees have thoughts and leaders want engaged people. This is like a Recees Peanut Butter Cup. Right? Well, not exactly. Many leaders get intimidated, insecure or even infuriated when people push back on their ideas. Not good. Of course, there are times when the push back needs to end or the squeaky wheel needs to just be quiet. But, good employees push back, for the most part, because they have a perspective about ideas and potential decisions that can make those ideas or decisions better. When good employees push back, great leaders slow down–even a tad–and listen to what they might not be able to see on their own.

Number 1: Employees want you

Occasionally, show your humanity. It will be good for you and for your team. OK, more than occasionally. More on this one soon.