Meaningful work is more important than a raise

If I asked you to choose between more meaningful work and a raise, which would you choose? The raise, right? That’s obvious. Or is it? In a recent survey of over 2,000 people who worked for large companies, the “meaningful work” beat “more money” by 2 to 1. Many more of us are willing to forego more money to get more meaningful work. And, what is meaningful work? “Work that feels impactful or important to you, and where you feel you’re contributing to a larger goal such as your own career goals, your company’s goals, or society.” Leaders, tune in to the underlying message here. Your people are talking to you. They want more from their work. They want to feel like what they are doing is impactful and important. And, guess what? Likely, the work they are already doing is impactful and important, at least on some level. The trick is helping them see it. Here’s one way: stop talking job titles, and start talking about the result of their work. “I am an engineer” gets replaced with “I help build the safest airplanes in the world.” How we talk about stuff shapes how we feel about it. Working on these kinds of problems? This is the work of leadership. (survey here: https://bit.ly/2SD1H6o)

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 February 5, 2019

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