“The leadership issues don’t change, each person just has their own set of priorities around those issues.”
I recently consoled a CEO who was lamenting on the varying needs of each employee, challenging his ability to be an effective leader. He was confused and befuddled. How could he consistently lead if everyone needed something different from him?
As he recanted the different needs his employees placed at this feet I reminded him that the important issues don’t change over time…just the mix and priorities of which ones are most important today. Each employee’s needs change over time and depending on their circumstances. For example, employees always want vision and direction from the top, they appreciate role clarity, are thankful for received appreciation, learn from feedback they are given, want to make a difference for the company and themselves, want security and care for their families, a chance to learn and develop new skills, and to have positive relationships at work, to name a few eternal leadership ingredients. Knowing which mix of needs is appropriate for each person today is the secret! This familiarity requires getting to know your employees individually and as groups.
As an analogy, my oldest daughter, Michelle, is serving in the Peace Corps in Madagascar. One of her projects was to write a cook book using healthy ingredients found in most local markets. She tells how she created over a dozen recipes using the same six healthy ingredients. Same ingredients, used in different ratios and priorities. Of course, any good CEO also knows the importance of how a dinner is served in satisfying the diners…presentation, menu, and ambiance!
May you lead with the right ingredients, recipes, and presentation to meet the needs of your followers!