I've been thinking a lot about leadership lately. Not just because it's an important aspect of good management, but also because the company I work for isn't doing well right now. Our parent company has put us up for sale, and we've been told by management that layoffs are on the way (the rumor is that they'll happen this week). At a time like this, there's always finger-pointing, and I've done enough talking about this offline that there's no need to do it online as well.
Although there are many facets to effective leadership, one that is especially good for worker morale is the ability to make employees feel known and valued. This ties in nicely to the ideas in a book that came out recently, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees) by Patrick Lencioni. The first of the three signs is what he calls "anonymity." I still remember my first day as a Marketing Assistant at my current company. The then-president of the company stopped by my cubicle to greet me and actually commented on where I'd worked previously. It meant an enormous amount to me that somebody that high up took an effort to check into my background and welcome me to the company. I don't think that happens nearly often enough.