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Some of my team members starts to ask themselves and me as their manager: "What's my value in this job?". Although I know their value as individual and as a team in the organization, I think just listing those values to them would not be effective enough.

Do you know and tried some activities/exercises that let them discover their values by themselves?

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    I'm a bit confused. Are they asking from a job security point of view (as in "How do I know you won't fire me?"), or from a "How is this job helping me grow professionally?" point of view? – AndreiROM Dec 17 '15 at 14:46
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    @AndreiROM it's about what's the added value of my job to the organization/company? They have doubts that their job is adding value to the organization. – Rami Sedhom Dec 17 '15 at 15:15
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This is a legitimate concern for many. One does her job, one thinks I'm doing a good job, and only when the layoffs hit or during an annual review is one hit with one's deficiencies.

While I'm not an advocate for meetings, I do think regular one on one meetings between a Supervisor or Manager and her or his Direct Reports is extremely valuable. Here are some questions you might try, but use what works for you and fits you. Over time, it is desired that more natural, instinctive, and casual conversation will ensue during these meetings, but in the beginning you will likely have to take the lead to make it happen.

How are things? What are the challenges that we aren't addressing? What concerns do you have about the project, the business unit, etc.?

I see a rare quality in you that you recognize the value in people, both individually and collectively. You are, in my view, correct to be guarded about singling people out for their strengths and accomplishments. In saying, "Bob, you did a great job on Project X", there is this unspoken criticism of everyone else involved in Project X. Most would agree that Bob could not have accomplished Project X all by himself, and there are probably more than a few people who contributed to Project X.

There is a great read, in my view, on this subject called "Peopleware" by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister. Pick up a copy, read it, and see if it speaks to you. If it does, buy a copy for everyone on the team and ask them to read it. Go through a couple chapters a week, and meet as a team to discuss it.

Watch "Greatness" on Youtube. It's a presentation by retired US Navy Captain David Marquet. If it speaks to you, show it to your team as a group and elicit their thoughts. https://youtu.be/OqmdLcyES_Q

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Some of my team members starts to ask themselves and me as their manager: "What's my value in this job?". Although I know their value as individual and as a team in the organization, I think just listing those values to them would not be effective enough.

There are a couple of parts to this in my mind:

  1. Results - What are the results from their work as the business sees it? Did they help raise revenue? Are they helping to cut costs? What are they doing that is impacting the bottom line that could be used to help someone have a sense of accomplishment in their job? This is rather useful though I'm not sure if you understand this point here.

  2. The story around that result. While some project may have made $x for the company, there can be something to be said for how one frames the story and what all was done to make it happen. This is where things go beyond a simple list.

Do you know and tried some activities/exercises that let them discover their values by themselves?

Gallup's Q12 would be my reference suggestion here noting that all 12 questions are somewhat simple in being able to ask but would your team members be able to answer yes honestly to all 12 questions? If not, then consider which are the ones that they could have a hard time and address those.

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Tell them their value is what they're being paid. Ask them if they think they're being paid too much.

They will soon learn how to value themselves or at least keep quiet, which is a valuable skill in itself.

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    +1. It isn't often that an answer is harsh enough to make me cringe but still makes me laugh. – Jim Clay Dec 17 '15 at 15:41
  • Some people are motivated more by money. I think that's what the question is asking about. The person is worth their salary + benefits to the company in dollars, but what role to they play in the organizational picture? How do they contribute to the successes (and failures) of the company? They aren't looking for their monetary value to the company, but what value they contribute to the organization. – Thomas Owens Dec 17 '15 at 16:18
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    I don't think I'd want to work for a manager who had this line of thinking. That is super aggressive towards someone who likely just wants confirmation that what they are doing is meaningful in some way. – Myles Dec 17 '15 at 16:48
  • This would be my actual answer when I was a manager, in a half joking tone. Stroking ego's wasn't my style (unless there was something specific accomplished), nor was spending time on inane questions. Didn't stop me being a liked and respected manager – Kilisi Dec 17 '15 at 19:32
  • Not really seeing any value in a Gilded Age retort – Kennah Dec 17 '15 at 23:17

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