Being appreciated is a fundamental human need. As a matter of fact, many studies have shown that one of the top five needs expressed by employees is to feel fully appreciated for their work. Essentially, we do more for those who appreciate it. So why is employee appreciation often a blind spot for leaders? We may think that a remark or two regarding recent project successes is enough, but appreciating employees comes down to taking action. Create defining moments that mark milestones of achievement. Integrate milestones into all of your projects and processes.
According to Nobel Prize winning scientist Daniel Kahneman, we experience approximately 20,000 individual moments in a waking day Each “moment” lasts a few seconds. If you consider your strongest memories, positive or negative, you’ll notice the imagery in your mind is actually defined by your recollection of a precise moment in time.*
What’s Your Ratio?
Think of your own defining moments. As a leader, you are able to produce for your team members the moments that they may look back on as marking major career hurdles crossed and successes achieved in their own careers. That kind of appreciation translates into sustained high accountability and performance. Look for moments where you can give positive feedback more frequently. Catch them doing something right and reinforce it! One recent study* revealed that work groups with at least a 3-to-1 ratio of positive to negative interactions were significantly more productive than those having less than a 3-to-1 ratio. What do you think your current ratio is?
Improve Your Ratio to Increase Productivity
- Tell a success story at a staff meeting. Stories are interesting then announcements, and engage the entire team. These stories become part of the folklore of the team, department, or company. It builds a rich and authentic corporate culture.
- Stop the regular work day and hold an impromptu special occasion or party, to celebrate milestones.
- When possible, give them options. Offer team members a choice of project or role. This will lessen the time and effort required for them to have a stake in its success.
- Say thank you!
Are They People or Just Employees?
Contributions are important, but the people behind them are even more so! Sincere interest in your employees will take their self-accountability and professional presence to the next level. Learn something new each day about your employees. Then weave that information into future conversations. Staying plugged in to your team members will show your sincerity. It’s easy to let days and even a week or more pass without any extended human interactions. Email does not do the job of sincerely appreciating your employees. We work in a high-tech world, but leadership is still a high-touch job.
Be available to them, regardless of your own busy schedule. Learn what makes each person ticks. It should be customized to each person, so personalize your recognition.
Provide opportunity, wherever possible. People want opportunities to improve personal effectiveness and knowing that their leader (and organization) is there to help them achieve their personal and career goals will give them incentive to increase performance. Remember, using your power to shift power to employees will come back to you in a solid team and star performers.
“Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.” Mary Kay Ash
Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.” Stephen Covey
At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com