5 Core Needs to Succeed

Posted by Jenni Catron on Jan 31, 2024 12:00:00 AM

What can you do when you’re lacking clarity?


I’m a big believer that clarity is a chief indicator of the health of your organizational culture. Show me a team where every person has clarity of purpose, responsibility, expectations, opportunities for development, and belonging, and I’ll bet that team is thriving. 


Clarity is one of the most powerful ways to build trust within a team, yet it’s also one of the most difficult things to provide. 


Clarity is the chief indicator of the health of a culture. 


The more clarity that exists in an organization, the stronger the team. 


When you lack clarity, you lack engagement. 


Our tendency when we lack clarity is to succumb to a victim mentality. We begin to look for someone to blame, and we feel less and less empowered. While I spend a good part of my time and energy helping senior leaders understand how to provide clarity, I also deeply believe that each one of us has agency in helping bring clarity to our culture and helping us more fully thrive as a team. 


Culture is shaped by the collective influence of every person on the team, and so what I hope I can do today is help you see where and how you can help yourself and help the rest of your team members find more clarity and contribute more confidently. 


Here are 5 core needs that each of us has to thrive and fulfill in our work. And I’m going to give you some suggestions for how you can:

  • Lead in
  • Lead up
  • Lead out


As you evaluate these 5 Core Needs, rank yourself on how much clarity you have for each one. 1 = not so much, 5 = Yes, I definitely have clarity. This simple assessment will help you know how to focus your efforts to seek the clarity you need to succeed!


5 Core Needs to Succeed


1. To know what’s expected of me.

Every team member wants to succeed in their job but in order to do that, they need to understand what is expected of them.


Questions you might be asking:

  • What exactly are my roles and responsibilities? 
  • What are the specific goals I’m working towards? 
  • What skills do I need to sharpen or acquire?


Steps for gaining greater clarity on what’s expected of you:

Lead in - Consider where you’re lacking clarity. 

Lead up - Review the list with your direct supervisor and discuss points of confusion.

Lead out - Ask peers or other team members for feedback


Unless you trigger the right conversations you will stay in that frustration. To get clarity, we have to communicate consistently. 


2. To know how we win together.

In order to contribute in a meaningful and collaborative way, team members need to understand how they work together. 


Questions you might be asking:

  • How does my role interact with the rest of the team? 
  • What are the values that guide how we work together? 
  • Are there any unwritten rules or expectations I need to be aware of? 
  • What is our mission, vision, and goals? 
  • How will I be held accountable?


Steps for gaining greater clarity on how we work together:

Lead in - Consider where you lack clarity or feel friction cross-functionally

  • Where do you need more clarity on mission/vision/values/goals?
  • Does something feel incongruent with what we say and what we do?

Lead up - Review the list with your direct supervisor.

Lead out - Ask peers or other team members for feedback


3. To have the opportunity to grow, learn and connect in a safe environment.

With a healthy understanding of what’s expected of you and clarity on how you work together, you now need a safe environment to try… and fail. 


Questions you might be asking: 

  • Are there opportunities for development?
  • Will I have coaching support?
  • Is this an environment where mistakes are opportunities to grow and improve?


Steps for gaining greater clarity on how to grow and develop:

Lead in - Consider how you want to grow. What do you need to grow? Determine what you can do on your own (courses, reading, networking, etc)

Lead up - Review the list with your direct supervisor and/or HR to see what opportunities may exist.

Lead out - Ask peers or other team members for feedback; seek ways to grow together (ie book club)


4. To belong - to know that it matters that I’m here.

As I gain more clarity and confidence, you want to know that it matters. 


Questions that you might be asking:

  • How will I received feedback andencouragement for how I’m contributing?
  • Will someone connect the dots for me to know that what I’m doing matters?
  • Do I feel connected and supported by my coworkers?
  • Do I have a friend at work?


Steps for gaining greater clarity on how to belong:

Lead in - Consider why you don’t feel as connected as you’d like. What can you do to help foster connection?

Lead up - Discuss with your direct supervisor to get their feedback and to help you connect the dots 

Lead out - Reach out and make connections with team members you don’t know as well.


5. To be fulfilled by utilizing my gifts for a mission I believe in. 

Ultimately, you want my gifts and passions to be aligned with the work I’m doing every day. 


Questions you might be asking:

  • Are there opportunities to use my gifts and strengths regularly?
  • Is my personal mission aligned with the organizational mission?
  • Do I feel congruence between my life and my work?


Steps for gaining greater clarity on how to feel more fulfilled:

Lead in - Consider how much you’re using your gifts and strengths in your everyday work. Is there any misalignment? If so, why?

Lead up - Review the list with your direct supervisor

Lead out - Ask peers or other team members for feedback; what do they see in you?

Friends, nothing is more powerful than a team on mission together. The greatest teams are made up of people who have extraordinary self-awareness and are actively leading themselves well and, in turn, leading effectively together. 


Keep leading well!


Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group


Jenni Catron Circle

Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.

Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.



Topics: Leadership, Culture, Clarity, jenni catron, mission, Clarity of Purpose

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