That’s the Wrong Answer!


I was working with a group of manufacturing frontline leaders, and we were talking about the characteristics of a high performance team. 

One of the characteristics is a shared vision.

So, how does a team know if every member has the same vision? You ask!

Questions like… 

  1. What are we trying to achieve and accomplish in our work?
  2. What’s working well for us and where are our challenges?
  3. What can we do to be more efficient and effective going forward?

 …get us to the right conversation.

 Then I added this question to the list:

“What excites us about our work right now?” and the head of these frontline leaders said, “Debbie, come on! Our employees are working in sweltering heat, doing the same manual work all day long… do you really think I would ask them what excites them about their work?! I don’t know how much experience you have with manufacturing companies, but I would never ask that question!”

And that’s the wrong answer!

The minute a leader sees work (and workers) as “You have to do this job” versus “Your job has purpose,” we might as well sit down and admit we work with no expectations past a low bar of engagement or motivation. 

It’s the leader’s job to articulate and cheer on work’s purpose. We owe it to our workforce to help them see that they and their work matters.

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