We don’t need yet another “type” of leadership. The practice of meaningful leadership means that you are intentional about the impact you make and the leaders you develop.
Here are four ways you can increase your meaningful leadership practice:
- Meaningful work. According to Harvard Business Review, “amazing bosses try to make work meaningful and enjoyable for employees.” Meaning is about understanding how the work you do every day contributes to a greater purpose. This is a key to building a constructive culture. As a leader, how often do you intentionally make the connection between your team’s work and a greater purpose?
“One of the things that drives humans is their need for meaning, and if you can make every job meaningful, then you will guarantee that every job will be done to its highest level of excellence.” — Erwin McManus
- Meaningful connection. The people that you work with are unique individuals. As a leader, it’s essential to see beyond yourself and your goals to the success and well-being of others. Two key practices to accomplish this are asking questions and listening deeply. These practices build connection and trust. Research shows that people don’t leave organizations, they leave managers. Without connection, why would your team members stay? People aren’t part of your organization, they ARE the organization. Do you treat your people like assets/resources or as humans?
- Meaningful development. The more you know people, the more you see their inimitable potential and better understand how to develop and grow them. Don’t engage in random acts of corporate learning. Consider the skills needed to grow into the future of the organization and identify the gaps. Then intentionally grow your team by providing coaches, team development and skill enhancement. We see too many organizations focus on continuous improvement for their processes without paying attention to their people. What development does your team need to perform optimally?
- Meaningful meetings. Since meetings consume much of the working day, as a leader you must define the value of each meeting. We suggest that you begin every meeting with a clarification about what needs to be accomplished. Check in with each person to get alignment and then stay focused on those agreed-upon outcomes. At the end of the meeting check in again to validate you achieved the needed outcomes. It is amazing how many meetings allow participants to engage in random wandering conversations that leave everyone frustrated. Make meetings meaningful by increasing their value and the benefit of the time each person invests by being present. How are you currently starting and concluding your meetings to ensure the greatest level of effectiveness?
While you may have financial targets or even “employee engagement” targets as part of your leadership goals, how does the development and growth of leaders fit into your success criteria? We believe that the true measure of a leader is how many other leaders he or she inspires. That can only happen when you are intentional about your leadership practice and meaningfully contribute to the leaders emerging around you. On a scale of 1 to 10, how are you doing at building into the leaders around you?