Four Things Employees Need Most from Leaders

Client“Research indicates that employees have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.” —Zig Ziglar


By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


What do your employees need most from the leaders in your organization? In the above quote, Zig Ziglar shares three employee needs based on research results. While I definitely agree with these needs, based on my experience I would like to suggest there are four additional things that employees need from leaders. If you take a moment to put yourself in their shoes, you realize that your employees have the same needs that you have. These are actually the same needs that people have no matter who they are, what their occupation is, or where they reside. They want to know that they make a difference, that someone cares, and that they belong. So, what four things do employees need most from leaders?

To be valued

First of all, employees need to know that their leaders value them. I’m not talking about just valuing that the task they have been assigned gets completed. I’m talking about genuinely valuing them as individuals. They each have something unique to offer. Their contributions matter and they need to know that you recognize and appreciate their expertise, their experience, and their potential. Learn to truly value every employee on an individual level.

To be respected

As a leader, you want to be respected. Well, your employees also have a need to be treated with respect. They don’t want to feel taken advantage of or that they are being taken for granted. Every employee is part of your organization for a reason. No one person’s reason is any more important than another’s. Every employee plays an integral role in accomplishing organizational goals and achieving success as a whole. Treat them with the respect that they need and deserve.

To be trusted

No one likes to feel like they are not trusted to do the job they have been hired to do. When you micromanage your employees you are sending the message that you do not trust their ability or their judgment. Employees will never reach their full potential unless you learn to put your trust in them. Give them the training and access to resources that they need, then step out of the way and trust them to do their jobs.

To be part of a community

People need to feel like they belong. This applies to home, community, and the workplace. Employees need to know that they are part of something bigger than themselves, that they belong to a larger community of individuals working toward the same goals, and that they are making a meaningful contribution. Create a strong community in your organization and then make sure every employee feels that they are an important part of it.

Give Them What They Need

Employees are simply happier, more satisfied, more loyal, and more productive when leaders in the workplace are meeting their needs. Make sure that employees are being valued on an individual basis. Treat every employee with respect. Show them, through your words and actions, that you have trust in their abilities and judgment. And, create an organizational community where every employee has a sense of belonging. Step up your leadership and give your employees what they need.



© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli


Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


2 thoughts on “Four Things Employees Need Most from Leaders”

  1. I like the way you’ve listed things that are so important to satisfaction. You mentioned, “Show them, through your words and actions, that you have trust in their abilities and judgment.” I wonder if leaders could do something like this to demonstrate these four principles.

    Valued – Your contributions to our project made a huge difference. {Then name something specific.}

    Respected – You’re an asset to our organization. You demonstrate our values so well.

    Trusted – You’ve caught onto your (responsibilities, tasks, job) so well, we’d like you to take some time and teach {a new employee}.

    Belong – You’ve become an integral part of the team. You fit right in. Your {whatever it is} complements the {skills, talents, interests} of the team.

    1. Jane Anderson, what great examples of how easily these principles can be applied. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. You are such a wonderful leader and you are appreciated!

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