What do Leaders Actually Enjoy About their Jobs?


When Mary Poppins first landed on our screens and began trilling out the words ‘in every job that must be done there is an element of fun’, we were several decades away from the concept of ‘employee engagement’. But her words are as relevant to modern working life as they were (and still are) to children tidying their rooms. Without some sense of enjoyment, we’re all less motivated, less productive and less likely to stick at our jobs.

No one is more aware of this than leaders and managers, particularly those under pressure to attract and retain the skilled workforce they need to drive business success. But what enjoyment do leaders and managers derive from their own, and often incredibly challenging, roles?

We’ve spoken to a number of people in such roles in Wales, and it seems to boil down to a few common factors:

The ability to make an impact

Yvonne Murray, Head of HR at Cardiff Airport, says:

“I have a very strong values base and working in HR allows me to make sure organisational values are promoted across the Airport. I firmly believe that HR should make a contribution to business objectives and not merely be a service add-on.  Consequently, I enjoy working closely with all departments and managers across the Airport.”

Enjoying being able to promote cultural values is definitely something we can relate to; one of the reasons we started Sitka was to establish a more value-led recruitment service for Welsh businesses – and it happens to be one of the things we most enjoy about what we do.

Jon Bridge, S.A. Brain and Company, also talks about the satisfaction he gets from generating impact in his role as Director of People and Culture:

I really love the commercial value and impact you can have through people – seeing the difference you can make by getting a hiring decision right, setting up a development programme or negotiating an arrangement.”

The people they work with

Talking about what he most enjoys about his job as Director of HR at the University of South Wales, Rob Baker says: “It’s a bit of a cliché, but it really is the people. In the modern world of HR, I think on times that I might be a little bit old-fashioned, not in terms of systems and processes, but in the way I strive to always keep people at the heart of what I do.

“My bias is towards the development side of HR, as opposed to the more hard-nosed employee relations side, so that’s usually a positive experience. I also enjoy recruitment and bringing in new people. I believe it’s as important for us to promote the University to candidates as it is for them to promote themselves to us.”

We could not agree more with this. As recruiters, we are people persons by nature and it’s the relationships that we build with our clients and candidates that make it worth coming into work every day. If you want to see what we mean, have a look at some of our testimonials.

The varied nature of the role

They saying goes that it’s better to be busy than bored, and it appears the variety of their busy day-to-day roles certainly makes this true for leaders.

Hannah Heath, Finance Director, JoJo Maman Bébé, says:

“I enjoy the diversity and pace of the work; because we’re a small, fast growing company, we’re really agile and not afraid to change things if it’s the right thing to do.  I can honestly say that every single day is different.”

In much the same way, the fact that every role, organisation and candidate is different is what makes us enjoy recruiting managers and leaders so much.

Gareth Way, Chief HR Officer of Creditsafe, says:

“I love the variety in HR – you can be a coach one minute and an analyst the next. It’s impossible to get bored. I’m immeasurably lucky to have been able to travel across our global offices, experience different cultures and learn about HR intricacies and legislation around the globe.”

Lynda Campbell also talks about the variety of her work as Director of Culture Angel and LJC Associates:

“Working with other companies keeps me interested. I am involved in such great variety, there is never a dull moment.”

It certainly seems that as well as being the spice of life, variety is what keeps leaders happy and motivated too.

If you’re looking for the next enjoyable step in your leadership or management career, please get in touch and find out how we can help.