Some newsworthy items we spotted this week emphasize how important it is to take a holistic view – of one’s employees, of oneself, and of the circumstances, we’re living through. Here are the key points from some good reads for leaders.

Have a passion outside of work

One of my favorite interview questions is simply to ask people about their hobbies. My reasoning in asking it is simple – people who have interests and motivations outside work are also likely to be interested, motivated colleagues.

Turns out there’s even more to it than that, as an article by Inc. writer Jessica Stillman (@entrylevelrebel) shows, and given the malaise and fatigue many are experiencing as the pandemic wears on, now’s a great time to pick up a new hobby or develop a new interest!

The benefits you can reap are pretty amazing:

  • Improved performance at work
  • Increased confidence in yourself
  • Improved resilience
  • Potential to make yourself smarter
  • It can be a form of mindfulness (read: stress reduction)

Read on for the details! 5 Incredible Research-Backed Benefits of Having a Passion Outside Work

Leaders – beware these power traps

Continuing our theme of taking the holistic view, this article penned by Susann Fowler for SmartBrief challenges leaders to be self-aware in those challenging moments in which it feels like you’ve lost control. In identifying the five “power traps” leaders can unwittingly fall into, Susan also offers healthier courses of action to take.

Here are the 5 power traps she identifies:

  1. Beware micromanaging people and resources to feel in control.
  2. Beware telling people what to do because you are the boss (parent, teacher).
  3. Beware blaming people and circumstances for your inability to influence outcomes.
  4. Beware acting as if you know it all and are above further leadership development.
  5. Beware depending on your position for power.

If any of these feel uncomfortably familiar to you, here’s a link to the article and its fantastic guidance: You’ve Lost Your Sense of Control Now What 

Extended crisis? Yes, 2020 qualifies

We talked about boosting employee morale recently, and this article by Anne Brafford (@AnneBrafford) and Richard M. Ryan (@RichardMRyan3) for Harvard Business Review goes more deeply – and fundamentally – into that topic. The gist is compelling: internal motivation is more effective than external pressure.

“A large part of a leader’s responsibility is to provide structure, guidance, and regulation; yet many workplace studies point to the fact that the most important gauge for a healthy work environment isn’t a strong external framework, but whether individuals can foster internal motivation.”

The three main psychological needs that build internal motivation identified in the article should look familiar to anyone who’s focused on employee engagement:

  • Relatedness
  • Competence
  • Autonomy

And indeed, the authors are quick to make the connection between these factors and employee outcomes and engagement:

“By meeting the three psychological needs, leaders help employees be engaged and feel valued at work, (relatedness), feel motivated by growth (competence), and feel empowered and confident in their skills (autonomy). Employees who feel unappreciated or coerced will, at best, often half-heartedly comply with a boss’s orders without whole-heartedly committing to excellence. At worst, they will lose all sense of motivation and fail to meet goals and deadlines.”

The article, 3 Ways to Motivate Your Team Through an Extended Crisis, is a must-read for leaders seeking to help their people (and their companies) thrive despite the hurdles 2020 continues to chuck into our path.

Speaking of a holistic view, we’re making it easy – and free – for you to get a holistic view of your team. Our free trial includes an employee engagement survey that will enable you to see, at a glance, where your company stands, so you can take action to resolve issues before they become problems and make decisions based on data, not guesswork. Details below.