It is in your attitude
As a leader, you have to take responsibility for the fact that it is you, more than anyone else in the team, who impacts on how people feel in the office. How you make them feel determines their engagement, and their engagement determines results, for which you are ultimately responsible. As the boss you have a disproportionate power to make people feel important or unimportant depending on the signals you send. Everything you say or do is hugely amplified by the position you hold, and even the mildest telling off can create feelings of unimportance.
Ask yourself how you feel about feeling important. This ties directly to your sense of self-esteem, and the link between self-esteem and performance is straightforward. Like President Bill Clinton, if you treat every employee as if she or he is the most important person in the company, you will have a dazzling effect on them.
I have often said that if you tell people exactly what to do, you are far less likely to achieve great results than if you encourage them to come to the answers themselves. To do this you have to listen to them, ask the right questions and lead them to the solutions. They will feel important because you’ve given them your time, you’ve taken an interest, and they were able to propose a solution that you agreed with – and now they’ll not only be committed to the action, but determined to deliver a great result.
The work environment is crucial to people’s levels of enthusiasm and engagement. It isn’t only about desks and seating and paintings on the wall; it is mostly about the atmosphere – and that’s determined by you.