leadership skills There are countless books on leadership skills and business, offering suggestions and strategies about how to engage, excite, and retain employees.

While culture and opportunities for growth are important in talent recruitment and retention, doing meaningful work is a powerful motivator.

In a Forbes post, senior affiliate professor of leadership and organizational behavior Schon Beechler argues that important leadership skills include helping others find meaning in their work.

The Search for Meaning

According to Beechler, when employees feel they are engaged in work that is important personally, there are positive effects felt throughout an organization: Improvements in employee loyalty, reductions in stress, turnover, and absenteeism, and increases in commitment, engagement, and effort.

“What is important is not the nature of the work itself, but the relationship between the individual and their work.”

Citing Kim Cameron’s Positive Leadership, she notes that work is associated with meaningfulness when it has at least one of the following key attributes:

  • The work has an important impact on the well-being of others.
  • The work connects with personal values.
  • The work has impact beyond the immediate.
  • The work builds a sense of community in others.

For leaders, understanding the value of meaningful work in their employees can help shape opportunities for professional development and help them become better, more competent coaches and mentors to those in their organization.

For employees, meaningful work translates into higher productivity and satisfaction levels.

The Role of Leadership Skills in Helping Others Find Meaning

Leaders place tremendous pressure upon themselves to meet revenue projections, grow their organizations, and aid in the professional development of those under their leadership.

Beecher recommends leaders strive to reconnect every person in their organization with key business goals, and coach them at every opportunity.

“Executives I work with often become so entangled with the enormity of their positions in guiding their organizations to success that they often lose sight of their role in helping their employees sustain their energy and commitment to that success by staying connected to what is meaningful in their lives.”

She stresses the importance of connecting employees to a common goal or objective. Employees who feel connected to the success of their organization will become better at and more engaged in their daily work, rewarding leaders with their dedication to achieving both personal and professional goals.

It’s easy to lose sight of your vision and purpose when facing challenges in business, but persistence in sticking to your values will sustain success even when circumstances seem most dire.