The Power of
By Ben Glenn
If you've invested in the stock market or real estate, the
slumping economy has probably led you to take up new hobbies like
screaming, crying, or tearing your hair out. Everyone is looking for
safe investments that offer the best ROI. For businesspeople, the
surefire winners are your employees. Specifically, investing
encouragement and support into the people that you work with.
Every time a business makes a deposit of encouragement into
an employee, there's an opportunity for instant return, whether it's
an up tick in their morale and/or their performance. As a bonus,
there's the possibility for encouragement to build and create
long-term return. You will have an employee that enjoys their job
and regularly goes above and beyond their job description.
Naturally, a supportive work environment supports better work.
A good way to look at these managerial efforts is to call
them "creating joy on the job." The key to being a good
administrator is recognizing where you are strong, but also
recognizing your weaknesses. Surround yourself with people who can
fill those weak points. Build them up in those areas so that they'll
enjoy what they're doing and do a better job.
It's often not easy to get your staff to enjoy their jobs.
There are many tools with which you can encourage your employees,
here are the top five. They may seem obvious, but it is important
not to overcomplicate things and overlook the simple ideas. The top
five tools to encourage your employees are:
1. A kind
This is a fancy way
to tell you to smile. Your coworkers will reflect what they see in
you. Be a master of making eye contact and giving a smile that
communicates, "I really care about you. I'm interested in you." It
is an effective non-verbal way of telling your co-workers they are
important to the organization and are making a difference.
2. A timely word:
involves being sensitive to when an employee needs a word of
encouragement. They may have had a difficult day, in personal or
work matters, and it would mean a lot for their supervisor to
acknowledge it. It involves a good sense of timing: saying the right
thing at the right time.
3. An appropriate
In a society where the threat of sexual harassment seems to inhabit
every cross-gender interaction, lost is the thoughtful art of
physical contact with each other. Psychological counselors claim
that people are deprived of physical contact with the incredible
fear of "Will it be misunderstood?"
For example, take an amateur boxer. Boxing allows the
participant to engage in rigorous mental and physical training,
expend pent-up energy, and sharpen focus. Even after the manly,
testosterone-saturated event, more hugging happens than at
Woodstock, especially for the victor. In addition to celebrating
with hugs, boxers show respect by touching gloves with their
opponent before trying to knock his head off. In sports, physical
contact like this is acceptable.
In the workplace, a handshake, a pat on back, or a pat on arm
is usually appropriate, and it makes a difference. Obviously, use
common sense. Understand your individual relationships with your
employees and how your action will be perceived by the employee and
4. A well-crafted
Whether it be via email, text message, or the classic Post-It note,
tell your employees how good of a job they're doing. Be creative in
letting them know in printed word that you appreciate them - both
who they are and their good performance. You never want to hear this
kind of complaint in your office, "I never knew if they appreciated
what I was doing. I didn't know if I was doing good or bad."
Don't let your employees wonder the same thoughts. Tell them
simply when and what they're doing well. You can likely expect to
see even better work from them in the near future.
can't just make a bank deposit once and expect that savings account
to grow. You have to continually invest into it. In the same way,
one gesture of encouragement is a good start, but that boost will
fade away as the rigors and routines of the job pile up. You have to
keep at it.
Also, it would be a bad idea to turn your money over to a
financial planner and expect everything to be in order when you
retire. You have to be involved. In the same way, encouragement has
to come from you – an authentic, personal, and consistent effort
from the encourager.
The key to maintaining consistency is looking beyond your own
needs and concerns and really knowing your staff. See your employees
as more than people who have tasks to do. You should know them and
be sensitive to how they communicate, both verbally (comments of
frustration, pleas for help) and non-verbally (facial expressions,
body language). Do you know when an employee is having a rough day?
Can you tell if their behavior is different from other days?
In the end, all of this encouragement not only builds up your
employees, but molds you into a better leader. Don’t be a “boss” who
throws out an expectation, sits back and waits for it to be met;
Develop a coach’s mentality to help your employees reach the goal.
Good coaches drive for the goal, whether it is a boxing match
or the bottom line. They also know that encouragement is the key
ingredient to getting the most out of their athletes because of the
trust that is created when an athlete receives the recognition and
the validation for all their work. Your employees will allow you to
challenge them to reach greater heights if you take the time to
build a relationship where encouragement and acknowledgement play a
big role. Don’t forget to celebrate the successes with your
employees; teach and encourage them through the hard times and watch
your work environment evolve.
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