dr carl robinson

The Currency of Success - Interpersonal Intelligence™

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Boost Morale on a Shoestring

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
– William James
 
Morale suffers at the hand of layoffs, job cuts and dips in profits.  Since low morale is linked to low productivity, it can lead to continued disappointing profits—a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Read on to learn ways of boosting the spirits in your work environment.
 
Employee Recognition.  Employee appreciation can help melt the chip of negative, anti-productive attitudes.  Let’s face it; we all want others to recognize the value of our knowledge or service.  Even more, employee recognition often pays off more than financial bonuses do, so this is a small investment with a good payoff.
 
Start an employee award program.  Think of ways in which you can link awards to tangible accomplishments.  Begin simple and make it attainable.
 
Give out certificates of recognition. This method works better in settings where awards systems don’t apply.  And how should you give a certificate of recognition?  In front of the employees’ peers.  Take a few minutes to mention the tangible efforts, knowledge or accomplishments that brought about the recognition.
 
Send “Appreciation Email.”  Add time in your schedule each week to send out an email to someone who is persevering through a challenging situation, or who has just kept plugging along, even in the face of low profits and morale.  This method may be one of the most impactful.  Why?  Because it conveys sincerity. 
These tactics will propel your team in the face of a challenging environment.

Phillip B. Crosby, author of “Quality Is Free” may have said it best when he stated,“Genuine recognition of performance is something people really appreciate. People really don’t work for money. They go to work for it, but once the salary has been established, their concern is appreciation. Recognize their contribution publicly and noisily, but don’t demean them by applying a price tag to everything.”

The Secret to Motivation

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success” – Anonymous
You are a successful manager. You have invested in your team, and it has paid off in a positive working relationship. So where does it go from here? Can you maintain the praise and rewards that have gotten you to this point? Praise and rewards work well for a limited time, but at some point the team dynamic has to develop, in order to keep inertia going.
So how do you make that transition? Read on. No matter who it is, we all do better if we feel positive, valued and that what we do matters. This is where a tenor of ongoing regard can go a long way to developing your team; indeed, it pays off in even more (and higher quality) returns from staff than any rewards can offer.
To accomplish this, practice using the language of regard. Our default mode is often to 1) be stingy with communication about how another’s behaviors matter to us at work and 2) when we do acknowledge their contribution, we tend to use indirect, non-specific language and characterize others as a certain “kind” of person.
All three of these diminish your ability to develop an atmosphere of regard. Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, in their book, How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, advise us that communicating our regard successfully must include specific, direct language, and we must use non-attributive language. Let’s take a look at each of these points:
Being Direct Directness lends power to your appreciation. We often praise staff members by speaking well of them in front of others (at the weekly staff meeting, for example). It might go something like this: “I just want to say a word of appreciation to Bob who went out of his way to…”
This communication is in third person, and is essentially being delivered to the group. Next time you are giving positive feedback, speak directly to the target of your admiration, in front of the group.
Being Specific Since our communications are often quite general, we end up expressing more about our good feeling than what the staff member actually did to make us feel so great. You might say something like, “Joe, at the staff meeting last week, I thought you were great. I felt so glad that you were on this project with us!
This kind of comment may lead Joe to feel good for the moment, but it doesn’t lay the groundwork for further. Specific compliments pay off for now and the long term relationship.
Be Non-Attributive What is that, you ask? Carefully use your word s to compliment specific accomplishments, not to confer attributes on someone. That is, don’t characterize the other person. Instead, describe your experience in working with them.
This can be the most difficult of the three points to put into practice. Instead of telling Julie, “I want to tell you how much I appreciate how generous you are” use a comment such as, “Julie, I want to tell you that your generosity in yesterday’s negotiations broke the tension.”

Using all three of these communication attributes will result in honest, effective encouragement of your staff. It moves you from a manager who hands out praises and rewards to one who recognizes accomplishments and builds an atmosphere of sincere regard in your team.

Situation Room: The Risk of Letting Go

Your department is planning to integrate a new project management software program into its production process.  Jen, one of your highest achieving employees has volunteered to spearhead the effort.  You have some clear ideas about how best to get this effort started, but you also want to allow Jen to stretch and succeed on her own.

Take a free leadership assessment as a reward for submiting your response to the situation above.  I’ll send you a link to take a confidential online assessment.

 

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