Perks don’t negate the need for leadership fundamentals

“I work here because I get free food. My job is not that interesting. My boss is a mess. The organization does not have a coherent strategy. The work I do is unappreciated. The culture encourages short-term work over long-term value. Turnover feels high. Nobody really smiles. I am stressed out. I feel disconnected. I am unhappy. But, I work here because I get free food.” (said nobody ever) One of the trending stories on LinkedIn today is how the perk of free food “a once-rare office perk” is gaining new traction. If you run an organization or a team, there are literally dozens of free things you could be doing that don’t really cost any money and will have way more impact. Put another way: one perk bobbing in an ocean of terrible won’t fix your problems. And, perks can never negate the hard work of focusing on the fundamentals of leadership. Get the fundamentals right and offer free food? Sign me up! Blow up the fundamentals and offer free food? I might work for you for a minute until I see what is happening. Then I am out the door. Great steak only goes so far. 

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on January 8, 2019

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