The office holiday party
was a huge success. Was it just a way to thank your workers for a job well done
this past year? Or do you expect it to have the lasting power to motivate your
workers for the next twelve months?
I'm not trying to be a scrooge
or put a damper on the holiday spirit. Rather I'm inquiring how do you obtain
consistent, high performance from the people you manage, coach, lead, or supervise?
So I asked the experts---not the management or academic gurus---but the people
who lead, supervise, or coach on a daily basis. Here's what was said:
"It's the small things on
a day by day basis that bring down performance--and-it's the small things every
day that can raise performance. One or two large events a year probably won't
do it. They may be funů.but if morale is down, I bet you'll find a bunch of
people griping about the other stuff that goes on in the workplace.
Rather, a supervisor's sincere
recognition of a job well done will usually do more for getting people to do
their best work than a holiday party or picnic.
"What I've observed is that
people need to feel respected and appreciated on a day-to-day basis for what
they contribute to the group or organization. Recognition and appreciation do
not have to be in the form of awards or even bonuses. A lot can be gained by
a manager doing simple things."
Did you realize that as
a manager, coach, supervisor, or team leader you have the equivalent of a drawerful
of $100 bills available to you at all times?
and genuine praise cost you nothing. But they can pay off substantially in terms
of employee commitment and discretionary effort---the difference between what
employees must do to keep their jobs and what they are fully capable of contributing.
As a consultant working,
for the past fifteen years in many kinds of industries and in companies that
had 10 people to companies that had 10,000+, here's what I've observed of "good"
managers----those who consistently get top performance from their team, staff,
or project group. Here is a sampling of their $100 bills:
Asking employees for
their opinion---and actually listening respectfully. And then acting on
employee's input or at least letting them know what you have done in response
to their input.
Providing more appreciative
feedback---with the good stuff coming a lot more often than the bad stuff!
Giving direct, honest feedback about their contributions on a regular basis
and emphasizing the consequences of what they have done.
Example: "I noticed you
put in a lot of extra work to finish your part of this project. As a result,
we were able to finish ahead of schedule and the main office was really impressed.
Thank you for going the extra mile."
Letting others know of
staff or team's contributions. This is known as third party acknow-ledgment
Example: "I told the director
what a great job you did on the PC installation project. She asked me to let
you know how much that helped us out." In the above example praise directly
from the director would be even more motivating.
Taking a sincere interest
in what people do well. Wanting to understand someone's success is one of
the highest forms of recognition and praise.
Example: Sit down with an
achiever and asking how she accomplished the praise-worthy task. Examine the
nuts and bolts together.
Even when it's difficult
to find something to praise, it's worth searching. When you start noticing what
people do right, they tend to do more of it (psychology 101!.) When you focus
on the negative you may gain compliance (when you're around, at least) but you
breed hostility and undermine morale.
Therefore, a staff or team
that has received appropriate praise will tend to be more involved, more creative
and more willing to achieve the team's or department's goals. In the end, isn't
that what you want as manager or leader?