I recently spent a Friday evening bowling with my grandson Noah, who is 7. We choose a ball that will work for him, raise the bumper guards to protect his ball from going into the gutter and then, we begin. I’m getting smoked by Noah in the first 3 frames. He is all smiles, crowing and enjoying his success. My reactions are joy at watching him, but frustration the pins aren’t dropping for me. Back and forth throughout the evening, our emotions are up and down based on how we are bowling. As I look around, the same thing is happening at every lane, smiles, frowns, fist pumps and bumps, finger pointing, “trash talking” and a whole lot more, all based on the feedback they receive from the pins. Bowling provides us instant feedback.
Imagine for a moment a big curtain hanging down in front of the pins so that the ball would still go through, but you couldn’t really see how many pins fell. Would you enjoy bowling? I doubt you would want to bowl for very long. Most of us would quit after a frame or two.
Providing feedback and connecting purpose and outcome of work is what great leaders do. It’s promise # 7 of a leader, I will make certain you know how your work has impacted others on our team, other departments, or customers of ours.
Some leaders don’t share much, they keep quiet. Their belief is no news is good news, “just keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll let you know when there is a problem”. Day to day their team functions in a vacuum, without much motivation. They also condition their team that if they are around the team, or want to talk, it must mean there is a problem.
Promise # 7 is important because everyone on your team wants to know their work has purpose. If it has no purpose, your team will wonder:
- Why even do it?
- Why do I care about the results?
- Why try to make improvements?
Without purpose work is meaningless.
But with purpose, it’s a completely different story. Purpose provides energy, motivation, and excitement to work. It is no longer work, it’s a blessing to someone else.
As a leader, how do I help my team?
Start with the big picture, organizational strategy, and plans, what’s new and why. Help them understand how their work contributes to success.
Share customer feedback, then talk about how their work impacted customers. If your team supports those on the front line with customers, make the connection of their work and the indirect impact on customers because often they won’t see it.
If your team’s work impacts another department, consider periodically having joint meetings so your team hears firsthand how they make a difference and together everyone can discuss mutual ways to make things better.
Finally, in your own department meetings, get the team to talk about how they rely on and help each other. Also help them to understand what happens when things aren’t good, when they are late in getting work to a teammate, or if the work is not what it needs to be.
When you know your purpose and the impact, you’ll be much more engaged.
God wants us to bless others and he’s promised to use us for that purpose. Can you help your team to bless others?
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11
This was the final blog in the series of 7 promises of a leader. If you missed a previous blog you can access them here by clicking on the blog title, or go to my website https://dalekreienkamp.com/blog/
Promise # 1 – I will make time for you.
Promise # 2 – I will protect you
Promise #3 – I will surround you
Promise # 4 – I will answer you
Promise # 5 – I will provide opportunities
Promise # 6 – I will provide a healthy work environment