What Makes Employees Happy? (Hint: Not Just Pay & Benefits)

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Like all companies, credit unions do any number of things to find and retain employees-pay above-market salaries, offer benefits and flexible hours.

But one person who has made a study of successful organizations said that in order to really manage people effectively, the manager must be a catalyst who demonstrates that he or she genuinely believes in the company.

In his keynote remarks to the California/Nevada league meeting, Marcus Buckingham, president of One Thing Inc., described himself as a project person who wants everything done. And that's what he admits annoys him about people-they are never done.

"To really excel as a manager, find what is unique and capitalize on it. Identify each person's unique contributions and figure out a way to use it," he recommended.

Buckingham said that the most effective credit union leaders are those who rally employees toward a a better future.

For that reason, he said, the opposite of a leader is not a follower, but instead a pessimist.

"Keeping promises does not make one a leader," he said. "Leaders have an internal craving to be at the helm. They have a driving need to learn more."

Buckingham observed that everyone shares a common fear, the fear of the unknown, and anxiety about the future. The challenge to a business leader, he said, is that so many conversations are about unknowns.

The key to addressing those uncertainties, he said, lies in his primary thesis for successful organizations: that there must be clarity.

"People," he said, "are begging for clarity." To achieve that, he said four questions must be answered by any organization: Who do we serve? What is our core strength? What is our core score? What actions can we take today?

"Not everyone can be a leader, because not everyone can focus employees on these points of clarity," said Buckingham.

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