Recognize This! – You can get more done, more effectively, with a few kind words and good humor.
One of my colleagues is from the Southern U.S. She tells me she was
raised to be Southern Belle. Now, being from Ireland, I’m not entirely
sure what all the connotations of that mean, but I do understand that
good manners, polite good humor, and kind words are a part of the
equation. One of her favorite sayings is, “You catch more flies with
honey than vinegar.”
Many people live their personal lives in this way. I like to think I
do, as well. It’s quite true that a kind word returns better than an
angry one. Yet, why do we so often behave differently or experience far
different behavior at work?
Writing in Human Resources IQ, Feras Banna outlines 3 reasons managers fail to get the most out of their employees. One critical point he makes is:
“According to research by the Corporate Leadership
Council, a group that conducts research through several high profile
organizations, providing positive feedback to your employees is
categorized as an A-Level Driver, affecting performance with a value
higher than 30 percent. The CLC also identified that while 89
percent of employees believe positive feedback to be their biggest
motivator, only 39 percent seem to get any feedback at all.”
As Feras explains, one way to do this is:
“Explain the positive effect of the behavior on the working environment. If
you want a certain behavior to continue, your employees must understand
the value of this particular behavior on the job. One might say,
something like: ‘By drawing our attention to the risks of this project
and identifying the measures we should take to minimize this risk, you
helped the company avoid a serious setback that would have affected the
The specificity of that positive message is critical.
A general, “Thanks! Great work!” is certainly better than never giving
praise or acknowledgment at all. But a very specific message, such as
that illustrated by Feras, returns 1,000-fold. It takes little more
effort to explain exactly what was “great” about the work, but taking a
moment to do so makes your praise more personally meaningful and far
more illustrative of what you want to see in the future.
If this feels too “soft” to you, let’s look at the purely financial importance of a strong organization culture. Bruna Martinuzzi cites the following in Open Forum:
“’If you do not manage culture,’ says Edgar Schein, a
professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, ‘it manages you. And
you may not even be aware of the extent to which this is happening.’
Culture has a significant impact on a company’s long-term economic
well-being: A 2000 study published in the Harvard Business Review found that company culture can account for nearly a third of financial performance. This is too high an impact to ignore.”
Far too high to ignore, indeed.
What are you doing to strengthen and improve your company culture
and, consequently, drive the financial performance of your organization?
24 May 2012 7:00 PM
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