The Top Ten Things Employees Want From Their Leader

 In Coaching, Employee engagement, Employee Satisfaction, Leadership, Leadership Development

What do employees want? Leadership is a high-contact sport and hard work if you want your team to excel. However, management derailment studies predict a high failure rate for managers. Research also shows most employees are not buying into their leaders or companies and are disengaged from their work. You do not have to succumb to these negative results. If you pay attention to these ten things employees want in a job, you will have a real opportunity to create a team of inspired and highly engaged employees. That is good news for your employees and for your career.

Top Five for Employees

Clear Expectations and Goals

Give your employees a clear understanding of their roles, responsibilities, and objectives. Do this one on one and with the team. Always remember, this is not a one-time event. Do it periodically through the year: monthly to quarterly. Conducting performance reviews only once a year does not cut it today. Most performance problems come from a lack of clear expectations or goals and a lack of recognition.

Recognition and Praise

The better people feel about what they do, the more they want to do it well. Recognize them for progress, a job well done or for goals achieved. Do the same for your team. Be genuine, creative and keep learning. When consulting with clients we always find ways to do individual and team recognition at meetings. Interestingly, most client managers seldom think of it on their own.


As simple as it sounds, keep people informed as a team and aware as individuals. This means that you need to communicate multiple formats. For example, use meetings, one on ones, virtual sessions, phone conferences, email, Skype, and texts. Learn to do each of these appropriately. Therefore, it is not an excuse for poor communication if you are separated by distance from some members of your team. In most employee engagement surveys; leadership communication often has the poorest ratings and the most negative feedback.


People become more motivated when they can develop their skills. Be sure to learn to delegate effectively. Find ways to give your team ample opportunity to expand their capabilities in new areas. In addition, if an employee is interested and capable help the person advance in the company.


The Top Ten Things Employees Want From Their LeaderFollow-through on your commitments. Further, be genuine and conduct business in an ethical manner. Admit mistakes. There are way too many examples in the media of ineffective and fallen leaders. You do not have to be one of them.

The Five Next Things for Employees


People want to be great and if they are not, managers are usually the obstacle. Listen to your team’s ideas and get them involved in fixing problems. Coach effectively and regularly. For example, meet one on one with each employee monthly. When they bring you a problem, hold on trying to solve it. Ask, what have you done so far? What do you think should be done? Teach them to think through and solve their own problems.


80% of employees say they do not get respect on the job. Don’t have secrets, or intentionally instill fear in people, and treat employees as adults not like children. Certainly, be as open and as honest as you can. Build up your team; do not beat them up. Above all, you earn respect by giving respect.

Pride in the Work

Most people want to do a good job. This fuels self-motivation and pride. Create a positive working environment. Have some fun while working hard. and leading by example. Subsequently, it will pay great dividends for your employees and you.


On-going training is a must to maintain current job skills, but even more importantly to add to them. Fortune’s magazine’s annual list of the world’s best companies shows that the highest-ranking companies give employees 40-60 hours of training and education each year. How about your company? How about your team?


People want to win. Consequently, work hard to align people with the right role where they can succeed. Persevere to eliminate obstacles for your team and be an advocate for your employees’ success. Most importantly, avoid changing direction often or not dealing with poor performance. Moreover, do not set unrealistic goals because these behaviors can lead to poor morale in your employees.

Pulling It All Together

Consider these ten areas for motivating and engaging employees. Help your employees be successful, and you will be successful as a leader. What is the payoff for following through on this?

  • Higher employee engagement and productivity
  • Lower employee turnover
  • Better internal teamwork and communication
  • Increased employee morale and commitment
  • Improved customer service, sales and quality
  • Career advancement and success

In conclusion, if you want your people to be better, you must become a better leader.

The Top Ten Things Employees Want From Their LeaderFurthermore, do you want to learn more about proven approaches to motivating and engaging employees? If so, I suggest you check out this complimentary eBook: How to Motivate-No-Inspire Employees: 10 Keys to Employee Engagement.

Also, are you going through many changes at work? Download this complimentary eBook: Changing Change Management

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