How to connect your teams’ work to company goals

Actionable Tips from Dana Lawson - VP of Engineering at GitHub, and Mandar Bapaye - VP of Engineering at MasterClass

Managers play an essential role in helping engineers connect their work to the company's mission. Usually, they are the closest to their reports and understand their motivations.

As a manager, if you believe in the company goals, you can help your direct reports identify with them as well. It will be harder to align your teams to the company mission if you cannot connect with it. When your team members enjoy their work and are intrinsically motivated, it leads to better and faster achievement of the overall goals.

Here are three actionable tips you can follow to motivate your team:

Adapt frameworks to suit your teams:

Management and leadership are part science and part art. You can’t just copy and paste frameworks onto different teams and expect to have the same results. Every individual is different, and you need to understand the unique personalities of your team members. Gathering qualitative and quantitative data about your engineers' productivity and happiness can help you understand them better and provide support.

Drive conversations with your reports:

Establishing trust and having effective one-on-ones is very important, especially with engineers who are introverted. Make efforts (e.g. using pulse surveys) to understand what your reports like to do. Consider placing your engineers on projects they are passionate about. Using different empathetic approaches may help people put their guard down and work towards accomplishing their goals. Keep reminding your engineers how their work is contributing to the overall targets.

Convey the value of their work:

Reminding your team of their priorities and the reason for this prioritization will help strengthen your relationship and trust level. Be honest about the value and quality of work, or it can be detrimental to the trust you are building with your team members. Motivate your people to think of your organization as a system, and that sometimes they may need to work to benefit other parts of this system. Even if some projects are not that enjoyable, they can be vital for your company's win.

Aligning the work and passion of your team with your organization leads to great work experience. If you are working with teams that enjoy their work, have strong values, and are talented, then working towards that common mission becomes much easier.

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