dr carl robinson
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The Currency of Success - Interpersonal Intelligence™

How to be an Authentic Leader: Why it is Important and 75 Things Your Employees Need from You

Being a leader is a difficult task in today’s business world. In a fast-paced organization with ever-changing challenges and roadblocks, leadership can be a stressful role to have. And when you have your leadership “hat” on at the office, it can feel as if you lose yourself in the shuffle.
Engaging in authentic leadership can help lighten the burden and may even help you to make more of a connection with your workforce. It revolves around one of the simplest charges there is: being yourself.
It sounds simple, but some leaders feel they have to put on a “tough-guy” persona at work, sometimes at the expense of the business. When we act like someone we’re not, we lose the respect of our peers and our employees who know better. And losing respect at the office is never a good thing.
So how do you engage in authentic leadership? What’s the secret?
Authentic leadership involves actually holding the beliefs you support; doing and saying what you sincerely believe. To be authentic, one must truly be himself or herself. It’s not a switch that gets turned on during the commute to the office; you must be yourself and take responsibility for your behavior.
Authentic leaders are usually the first ones to embrace the change they espouse, setting the example for others. They are visionaries who go against the grain to do what’s best for their organization because it’s truly in their heart.
Authentic leaders have integrity. Many people can lead, but only authentic leaders can do so with the values, morals and integrity of a strong character. People know and feel this strong character and are drawn to it. People trust, respect, and listen to authentic leaders, making it easier to lead.
Authentic leaders create communities at work; communities that work. They foster friendships among and between coworkers to link humans to one another so they have something else and someone else to work for other than themselves.
Authentic leaders learn about themselves to foster excellence in themselves and the organization. No one is perfect and to hold perfection on a pedestal, whether it be personal, a department, or the whole organization, is setting up for failure. Instead, authentic leaders strive for excellence and use failures and mistakes as a way to gain wisdom and to move forward.

Becoming an authentic leader is not necessarily about learning how to lead authentically. It’s about taking what is genuinely there, inside you, and letting it be visible for all to see and experience. Turning into someone you are not while at the office is all too transparent and doesn’t help you build the trust and enthusiasm you expect from your staff.

The 75 Things Your Employees Want from You

What do your employees want most from you? Is it surprising to learn that a large portion of senior managers, when asked to rate motivators by what they think is most important to their own employees, miss the mark?
We see it as early as 1946 when the Labor Relations Institute of New York published a report in Foreman Facts proving the existence of this discrepancy. The same results were produced again by Lawrence Lindahl in 1949 in Personnel Magazine, and then over again many times since by professionals such as Ken Kovach in 1980; Valerie Wilson of Achievers International in 1988; Bob Nelson of Blanchard Training & Development in 1991; Sheryl & Don Grimme of GHR Training Solutions from 1997 to 2001; and most recently by Mercer International in its What’s Working Survey of 2011.
How better to correct a discrepancy than with knowledge? So, for your benefit, here are the 75 things the typical employee wants from you.
Employees Want a Boss Who Provides:
1. Respect
2. Involvement
3. Trust
4. Leadership
5. Engagement
6. Information
7. Goals and Objectives
8. Delegation
9. Empowerment
10. Clarity of Expectations
11. Encouragement
12. Understanding
13. Autonomy
14. Feedback
15. Guidance
16. Validation
17. Attention
18. Professional Development
19. On the Job Training
20. Advancement Opportunities
21. Acknowledgement of Contributions
22. Gratitude
23. Praise
24. Flexibility
25. Sympathy on Personal Issues
26. Control of Future
27. A “Good Boss”
Employees Want Work that is:
28. Meaningful
29. Engaging
30. Interesting
31. Fulfilling
32. Capable of Making a Difference
Employees Want to Work for a Company that Offers:
33. A Purpose to Society
34. Honesty
35. Integrity
36. Efficiency (as little red tape as possible)
37. Effectiveness
38. Good Working Conditions
39. Comparable Co-workers
40. Performance-tied Incentives
41. Loyalty Up—When times are good
42. Loyalty Down—When times are not so good
43. Opportunity
44. Access to Technology
45. Innovation
46. Social Media
47. Connections
48. Networking Events and Opportunities
49. Service-centered Culture
50. Work-life Balance
51. Mentoring Opportunities
52. Job Security
53. Safety
54. Access to Management
55. Transparency Across the Board
56. Community Involvement
57. Teamwork
58. A Voice that can be Heard
59. Assurance that They Matter
Some Extra Benefits to Sweeten the Pot include:
60. Wellness Programs
61. Access to Exercise Facilities
62. Daycare Availability
63. Profit Sharing
64. Health Benefits
65. Dental Benefits
66. Vision Benefits
67. Retirement Plans
68. Contribution Programs
69. Contribution Match
70. Paid-time off
71. Flex-scheduling
72. Fair Pay
73. Bonuses
74. Volunteerism/PTO for Volunteering
75. Green/Eco-friendly Work Practices

If a list of 75 things make it seem as though employees have simply become too demanding, think about them comprehensively instead with this single statement:Employees want to do work that matters for a well-reputed and connected company that respects them and values their input; under management that believes in their abilities, provides them with the tools they need to get the job done, acknowledges their contributions, and rewards efforts with fair compensation.