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The four things people want from workplace leadership

Psychologists figured it out long ago. Oliver James, author of the new book Affluenza, says there are four things we need to live our lives in a fulfilled way. I’ll avoid the word ‘happily’ as there’s a whole science of happiness growing up at the moment and I’m not sure about some of it.

Here are the four things:

1. Security (so, no impulsive, volatile, unpredictable managers who like to keep people on their toes, thanks)
2. Community (so let people network to their heart’s content and contribute and be part of things)
3. Effectiveness (People want to do not just be done to, to see what effect they are having and know it is useful. So, again, let them contribute and use the best of their abilities and have a clear line of sight to how that links to the overall aims of the organization)
4. Autonomy and Authenticity (Let people make decisions. Let them be themselves.)

That last point, on autonomy and authenticity – constantly crops up in surveys of what makes a great place to work where people are engaged, inspired and stretch themselves, from McKinsey surveys to Southwest Airlines’ internal surveys of their people.

So, formal leaders in an organisation just need to create that environment and then get out of the way and let people lead the business for you.

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