I've read many articles highlighting the difference between managers and leaders. Managers rely on control, leaders inspire trust. The manager does things right, the leader does the right thing. You get the picture. All comparisons are, in effect, an attempt to educate the reader on what it takes to lead. If leadership was easier to define, there wouldn't be a cottage industry of literature on the subject. But the fact of the matter is the concept is fluid and abstract. So here's my attempt to simplify it...
As a leader, you are likely doing a decent job if all of your team members truly believe they are contributing to something special,growing as a person, and connecting with others in a meaningful way. Together, these three things contribute to the overall happiness of the person, and therefore the well-being of your team and culture.
Your team should have a clear mission, ideally one that resonates with and inspires the entire group. It should be clear how every single team member plays a role in pursuing that mission every day. When people see that they play a clear role in building something special, they will respond accordingly. Happiness and purpose go hand in hand.
I am happiest when I'm learning. This includes making mistakes, moving on, acquiring new skills and meeting new people. I enjoy experimenting with different concepts and talking through the more promising ones with people I respect. I'm not surprised to see that many people I work with are wired the same way. So why should creativity be limited to any level or role within the organization? When people at all levels have opportunities to grow (either by formal training or simply by trying new things) they will again respond positively. Give those around you permission to make honest and smart mistakes as they try to grow professionally. Happiness and growth also go hand in hand.
Trust in your leader is important. Trust WITHIN your team is just as important. As a leader we are ultimately responsible for the health of the culture in our organization. No one wants to work in a team where people are falling over each other to back-stab, score points or posture for personal gain at the expense of others. Great teams are made up of individuals who care for and support each other. They understand and trust the motives of their peers and they genuinely applaud each other's successes. People are simply happier when they feel part of a cohesive and trusted 'family' as opposed to being a number in a group of people doing similar work.
Ask your team members:
1. Do you understand our mission and how you are contributing?
2. Are you growing professionally and personally in this environment?
3. Are you connecting with those around you?
Three 'Yes' answers and you're golden.
At CARite, we don't differentiate our career opportunities on pay. We differentiate our career opportunities and related job offers on our culture and our willingness to give talented people the ability to contribute in ways they might not enjoy elsewhere. You can learn more about CARite at http://www.carite.com/careers