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Managing to Make a Difference by Larry Sternberg

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Chapter 21Meet People's Needs

As a manager, you can create an environment that encourages people's sense of meaning in their work when you clearly articulate the why. But don't stop there. We encourage you to go several steps further. Meaningfulness and optimal engagement are highly individual, and managers have a powerful role in either maintaining (or destroying) people's sense of meaning and engagement, based on the extent to which they:1

  • Connect work to people's personal values
  • Provide recognition for a job well done
  • Empower people to make the right decisions
  • Build teams where supportive relationships are the norm

You support people's sense of meaningfulness and their engagement with their work when you cultivate positive relationships with them, optimize the fit between their talents and their responsibilities, and help them achieve their individual goals. When you do the opposite and fail to meet people's needs in these ways, you destroy meaning, diminish engagement, and risk losing good people. Here is an example of doing it right.

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