Your team wants two things more than anything else. They are the same two things we all want more than just about anything else. To feel valued and to be surrounded by the right people.

Your team must have significant input on who they will be working with. As a leader, it is your job to make that happen. (Tweet That)

If you’re new this week, this is the last installment in a four-part series on the 8 Things Your Team REALLY Wants. We’ve been talking about Simon, the founder and leader of a $200 Million startup that was losing mid-level VPs and managers at an alarming rate. I’ve used his struggles as an example to show you those eight things.

If you missed any of the other three parts, you can find them here:

Part One: Fair Pay and the Right Resources

Part Two: Creating a Clear Vision and Setting Realistic Expectations

Part Three: To be Trusted and to Control Their own Destiny

The last two things your team wants are to feel valued and to be surrounded by the right people.

7. To feel valued

Feeling valued is an inane human need. We all have it.

And there is no better way to make your team feel valued than to give them inside access. That means sharing information with them you normally wouldn’t. It means displaying open leadership. (That link will take you to a detailed post on the value of open leadership)

When you share information and then seek their input, each member feels he or she is an important part of the team. You want to include them on important decisions.

Simon’s team was a closed shop in this regard. He even admitted that he and his executive team were leery of sharing sensitive information with their VPs and managers. As a result, they were left in total darkness. Executive decisions were passed down with no explanation and no supporting information. The VPs and managers felt they were nothing more than order takers. In other words, they did not feel valued.

Since little information was shared with them, they were rarely involved in decision-making processes. And if they were, they had no information to work with. They were operating with a blindfold over their eyes.

The reality is that his team was smarter and more capable than he was giving them credit for. And so is yours.

The obvious results of not including your team members in important decisions is they feel devalued, their confidence takes a big hit, and they become increasingly disenfranchised. Over time, they will ride a cycle that looks a lot like this:

  1. Confusion.
  2. Anger.
  3. Withdrawal.
  4. Resentment.
  5. Departure.

Trust me, treating your team like this never ends pretty.

Key takeaway: Read my post on open leadership and do whatever you can to be more open with your team. They are your most precious asset. Don’t lose them out of irrational fear or your controlling tendencies.

8. To be surrounded by the right people

Informal poll: Who would you rather work with?

  • People you get along with
  • People you don’t get along with

How about:

  • High performers
  • Low performers

Or last one…

  • Positive people
  • Complainers

I’m pretty sure I don’t need Gallup to conduct those polls for me.

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One of the best things you can do as a leader is to make sure you take your time bringing on new team members. And make sure to include your current team in the process (see point #7 above).

It is your job to make sure that you have the right people in the right seats on the bus (hat tip to Jim Collins).

If someone is underperforming, it drags everyone down.

If someone is constantly telling off-color jokes or showing up late, it demotivates the rest of the team.

If someone is constantly whining about lack of this or too much of that, the rest of the team begins to either believe that person or want to kill him or her. Neither of those is a pretty place.

Ultimately it comes down to this with each person:

Is he or she giving more than he or she is taking?

Givers get to stay. Takers get to find a new job.

Simon was churning and burning through so many VPs and managers that it was impossible for them to work together. They also failed miserably at allowing the current team to interview the people who would be their peers. And to make things even worse, they often hired a VP’s direct reports with little to no input from the VP. Yikes!

That had to change…and it started with removing the wrong people from the wrong seats…immediately…and then completely changing their hiring process to include the current team more.

Key takeaway: Your team must have significant input on who they will be working with. As a leader, it is your job to make that happen.

Simon’s company is on it’s way to improving in all eight areas. They’re combining fair pay, better resources, a clear vision, realistic expectations, trusting their team, giving up control, valuing their team more, and surrounding themselves with the right people. It’s an effective combination with predictably positive results.

I look forward to a follow-up post or two in the coming years!

Have you ever felt unvalued at your job or been surrounded by the wrong people? What impact did it have on you?

0 thoughts on “Your Team Wants These 2 Things More Than Anything | To Feel Valued

  1. Ken Porter says:

    Yes on both. And both are incredibly demoralizing as you say.

    I used to work for a guy who used to keep everything to himself. All he did was bark orders. And half the staff was related to him. Nightmare.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Sounds like a nightmare indeed.

      Nothing like a secretive dictator surrounded by in-laws and nephews to spice things up.

  2. Steve Pate says:

    Yep your right, these two are the best two of the list!!! Valued is huge for me, I don’t need a kiss up director nor assistant but some “ada-boys” is really great to hear once in a while. But I learned if you want to hear that, you need to say that to others.

    I think there could be a whole blog post just on being undervalued.

    The Right people is a must, but to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t understand that concept just being the worker bee. It took some hard life lessons and being a coach to start having vision for looking for the right people. If I could of start grasping this concept in my teen age years, I feel I would of save my self from major wounds.

    Great series Matt, this must be a repeat in the future. Its a gold mine.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      More to come Steve 🙂

  3. Lily Kreitinger says:

    Communication with my team is the daily challenge. Even when I try to share how much their effort means to our success and where we are going, there are times when people feel they’re kept in the dark.

    I am proud to be part of a team of rockstars. Very experienced, dedicated and professional people. I’ve never once have heard anyone say “It’s not my job, or it’s not my fault”. I participate in interviews and ask the right questions so we can assess if the candidate will be a good cultural fit for our group. It’s not easy and sometimes it’s disheartening not to find the right people. One candidate’s questions at the end of the interview were “Why is this just a three month contract and will I have to travel?”

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      D’oh. You should write a series on “Worst interview questions” and start or end with that one 🙂

  4. Interesting…I was just listening to a Dr. Amen video on YouTube(he is an expert on brain function)and he said that having a positive peer group is actually good for your brain! Here is a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y76VEKch39U

    Maybe you could do a post on brain health sometime, Matt. If our brains are malfunctioning WE are malfunctioning.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Scary face in the preview but great video! Thanks for sharing Sahn.

  5. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    Haha. Have I ever! I felt horribly unvalued at my previous job…and so did everyone else, which led to my having to work with people who complained, argued and were generally negative.
    How did it affect me? Completely. My job performance would slip if I wasn’t extremely careful, I was stressed, more on edge, grumpier, more tired, and so on!

    It’s a horrible place to be and one I wouldn’t wish upon anyone!

    Great series this week Matt! Thanks!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Thanks brother! This was one of the most fun series I’ve written.

      1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

        It showed in your post–and more so in the audio…

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