Q: How do leaders find satisfaction in each workday and create an environment conducive to employee satisfaction?
A: When employees feel they are secure in their basic needs and wants, they aspire to a sense of shared governance with the leader. This recognition of their time, energy and effort produces a state of contentment, possibly producing better products and services.
Strategies producing satisfaction in competitive goods and service markets yield higher quality and more sustained sales, netting a better standard of living for all. When leadership produces these transformational outcomes, people share and experience success in all levels of the enterprise.
When leaders have a clear sense of their purpose, mission and critical success factors, it becomes easier to state objectives that derive success. Why are they in business and what drives their sense of achievement? Knowing this helps them create a space where others want to participate in the outcomes. With a high quality of work life defined and recognition of contributions, members of the work community will produce pride in their deliveries, creating a shared sense of satisfaction.
The external community of investors and consumers will engage the leader’s success and affirm the leader’s competence. Through stories and currencies, external stakeholders make it clear the leader is someone to listen to and emulate. These accolades will push the leader into a state where a strong sense of satisfaction will be a natural outcome. Daily successes and affirmations toward achieving the stated purpose also help the leader’s sense of satisfaction. This implies that satisfaction is incremental, and small, daily wins add up and multiply into very transformative success.
Knowing and listening to what the leader/follower community values, you can succeed within the uncertainty of most enterprises. Building a space where external and internal stakeholders feel achievement and intrinsic wellness will lead to a sense of individual and group satisfaction.
Hence, satisfaction is a derivative of success. The leader’s direction percolates satisfaction from a shared narrative of purpose and vision with those who follow them. Most in the community will nourish the leader who drives their sense of well-being and outcomes.
Ernest Owens is an assistant professor of management at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.