What Your Team Must Know
I've done a series of posts now on topics from Patrick Lencioni's great book, The Three Signs Of A Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees). In the previous post, I mentioned two ways that an employee can feel the problems associated with one of the key signs: irrelevance. But I only explained one of them; that your coworkers need to know how their work contributes to the overall organization. The better they understand that, the less likely they'll feel irrelevant.
The other side of the irrelevance question relates to the personal side. To whom do your teammates matter? We're personal beings, with a healthy drive to know and be known. Your team needs to be individually known by the people within your organization who benefit from their work. If the beneficiaries of their work can appreciate them, that provides a powerful reward to your team.
So think carefully. Who benefits from your team's productivity? First you might think about their internal customers, the business units that requested the software or technology they've implemented. Their jobs are better for the work of your team. They may not even be able to do their job unless your team does theirs. The management personnel of the internal customer groups also benefit. Your customer support team benefits because they wouldn't have customers if your team failed. As you can see the list goes on. Help you team understand who benefits and also help the beneficiaries express their appreciation to your teammates from time to time. Who can it hurt.
But in the book, the author also pointed out an often-overlooked beneficiary; you. You wouldn't have a job if your team didn't do theirs. As their manager, you get whatever you get through their hard work and persistence. You couldn't do your job if your team didn't do theirs. Do you forget that?
Exercise some leadership with your team in the next few days by showing them that they matter to you. It can't hurt, and it really doesn't have to cost you anything other than a little time and humility. Serve your people to enable them to perform better. You'll be glad you did.