12: The Elements of Great Managing

Why would somebody work for you? And, if you’re the leader, what does your team want and need from you? The employees in your organization come to work each day generally committed to do what the company needs them to do. Let’s be honest, few people really want to spend eight or more hours a day working in an environment they hate. But sometimes, in the rat race of organizational life, leaders forget what the team really needs from them. And because leaders are the greatest influence in an organization’s culture, understanding the needs of the team is essential.

The Gallup organization has done some pretty impressive research drawing on ten million workplace interviews. This research has uncovered 12 elements that serve as, what Rodd Wagner and James Harter, in their book 12: The Elements of Great Managing, call, an “unwritten social contract between employee and employer.”

If your team can answer an emphatic “YES” to each of the following 12 statements, then you’re probably doing a pretty good job leading the team and keeping your employees fully engaged in their work. If they cannot answer “yes,” then an opportunity exists to work on your organizational culture. Here’s the 12 elements:

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the material and equipment I need to do my work right.
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. I have a best friend at work.
  11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

If you’re leading a team, how do you think your employees or volunteers would answer the questions above? If you really want to know, why not include these statements in an annual review process with a scale of 1 to 5. If you’re the member of a team, how would you rank yourself (on a scale from 1 to 5) in each of the 12 areas above?