About the Q12 Items

Why are mentors such a powerful influence on their protégés? "Human see; human do" is a fundamental part of our wiring, write the authors of the New York Times bestseller 12: The Elements of Great Managing.

Why does it matter so much to employees that someone at work cares about them? It's because their need for bonding extends far beyond their homes, churches, and neighborhoods, according to the authors of the New York Times bestseller 12: The Elements of Great Managing.

The ramifications of matching employees to what they naturally do best are profound. So much so that this aspect of work life emerged as one the elements that best predict the performance of an employee or team. The authors of the New York Times bestseller 12: The Elements of Great Managing explain.

It matters a lot to taxpayers whether the 14,000 employees of the General Services Administration are engaged at work. Marcella Banks, a visionary manager at the federal agency, knows this. Her success at inspiring employees offers a model not just for the rest of government but for managers across industries and sectors who want to improve performance.

Engaged employees are more productive, more profitable, and more customer-focused, and they're less likely to jump ship. But most companies struggle to engage their workers -- in fact, Gallup research shows that 70% of U.S. employees are not engaged at work. Why are businesses so ineffective at engaging their people? And what can they do to build workplaces that foster higher levels of employee engagement? This special report offers powerful solutions.

Happiness on the job depends on many things, including opportunities to learn and grow. But it also seems to depend on gender. These days, women find more fulfillment in their jobs and personal lives than men do -- and that gap has widened.

We wrote this book to start a revolution, the strengths revolution. At the heart of this revolution is a simple decree: The great organization must not only accommodate the fact that each employee is different, it must capitalize on these differences. It must watch for clues to each employee's natural talents and then position and develop each employee so that his or her talents are transformed into bona fide strengths.

The need to learn and grow is a natural instinct for human beings. We can learn and grow by finding more efficient ways to do our jobs. Where there is growth, there is innovation, and this is a breeding ground for more positive and refreshing perspectives toward ourselves and others.

We have all faced the infamous job performance review. Typically, the first two minutes are focused on what the manager likes about us and our work, and the remaining 58 minutes are spent on our "areas of opportunity" (the areas in which we're weak and should improve).

Human beings are social animals, and work is a social institution. Long-term relationships are often formed at work -- networking relationships, friendships, even marriages. In the best workplaces, employers recognize that people want to forge quality relationships with their coworkers, and that company loyalty can be built from such relationships.

Highly productive employees tell us there is a vast difference between being assigned to a team and actually identifying with that team. It's a common experience -- our manager assigns us to a workgroup and our name is added to the roster. Just because our names are added, however, doesn't mean that we psychologically join the team, especially if we are afraid the other members don't share our commitment to producing quality work.

A deeply felt sense of purpose in life leads to excellence. Human beings want to belong to something of significance and meaning. They want to know they are making a difference, contributing to an important endeavor. The best workplaces give their employees a sense of purpose, help them feel they belong, and enable them to make a difference.

All employees want to feel that they are making significant contributions to their workplaces. The ways organizations hear and process employees' ideas will shape, to a large degree, whether or not they feel valued for their contributions.

The innate yearning to learn and grow is natural to human beings. Our jobs allow us to encounter new situations and find new ways to overcome challenges every day. Why, then, do we have a tendency to stall or stagnate?

Gallup's research indicates that employees don't leave companies, they leave managers and supervisors. The impact that a supervisor has in today's workplace can be either very valuable or very costly to the organization and the people who work there.

Praise and recognition are essential building blocks of a great workplace. We all possess the need to be recognized as individuals, and to feel a sense of accomplishment. There is nothing complicated about recognition, but it is one of the items that consistently receives the lowest ratings from employees.

Full human potential is realized only when people are in a position to use their talents and strengths. Great performance is found when an individual's natural talents fit his or her role. Matching the right person with the right job is probably the most significant challenge organizations and managers face today.

We have all been in the frustrating position facing an expectation without having the tools necessary to achieve it. For employees, the importance of having the materials and equipment they need to do their jobs right is one of the 12 key discoveries from a multiyear research effort by The Gallup Organization.

Expectations are the milestones we use to measure our progress and, within the workplace, those milestones mark the pathways that guide us toward achievement. If expectations are not clear, we are hesitant, indecisive, and unsure of ourselves.

What makes a great workplace? Is it pay, benefits? Is it too complex to understand? Traditionally, management believed that people will always dislike work, and when they are at work, they will always want to be somewhere else.