Benefits of Employee Appreciation We all crave appreciation, even when we already know we’ve done a job well. When is the last time a coworker or boss showed appreciation for what you do? Do you remember how it made you feel? In the 1940s, Lawrence Lindahl conducted a study on employee motivation. The results may surprise you. During the study, supervisors and their employees were asked, “What motivates an employee?” The number one answer was “appreciation for a job well done.” This is pretty amazing for a number of reasons. One is that appreciation is free! Motivating an employee doesn’t always need to come from bonuses or pay increases. Simply noticing a good job and offering praise can be a huge motivator. You might be thinking that our culture and workplace culture may have changed since the 1940s. It was a long time ago, that’s true. But these study results have been replicated in multiple studies since then. Time and time again, employees have made it clear that hearing a leader show appreciation makes a huge difference in morale and happiness at work. Here are the 5 Ideas to Create an Atmosphere of Employee Appreciation Be an Appreciation Role Model. Compliment a team member in front of others. This both boosts the morale of the employee you’re complimenting and communicates to others that showing appreciation is something they can do, too. Give Regular Coaching Feedback. Be a coach and let people know that you want to help them perform and succeed. Try making suggestions, instead of criticizing. We all prefer recommendations instead of people told what we should and shouldn’t do! Give Immediate Praise on a Job Well Done. The closer the reward happens to the behavior that triggered it, the more powerful the association between the good behavior and the reward will be. Make sure to show appreciation as soon as possible so that an employee connects those positive feelings with the job they did well. This will increase their motivation even more. On the spot positive feedback is the trend now! Forget about waiting for annual review. Remember to “catch them doing something right” as recommended in the classic must read: The One Minute Manager. Send a Thank You Message When You Notice Someone Doing a Good Job. Having an encouraging message, note or email gives your team member a tangible reminder of your appreciation they can revisit again later. Make appreciation part of your daily routine. Set aside a few minutes each day show appreciation…whether it’s to jot a quick note or to simply connect with an employee or team member who’s doing a great job. Appreciation Doesn’t Need Bells and Whistles The most effective kind of appreciation is sincere and unstructured. Resist the temptation to create some sort of complicated employee appreciation program or tie words of appreciation with other incentives, like bonus programs. Those other ways of saying thank you are great for other purposes, but if you want your employees to receive the best [...]
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.” – Albert Einstein Think about children for a minute. They’re naturally curious, imaginative, and always learning, always looking for new experiences and information. They know what they want, and they chase after it wholeheartedly. Does you hear your childhood self in this description at all? There are a lot of good things about “being an adult: the knowledge and experience we gained, knowing what we want and don’t want, the discipline to stick through a task even when we don’t feel like finishing it. Those are things kids aren’t so good at doing. But what about the benefits we’ve lost? Where did that natural curiosity and that vivid eagerness go? Many motivational experts like to say that leaders are made, not born. I believe we are all natural born leaders, but some of us have been deprogrammed along the way. As children, we were natural leaders - curious and humble, always hungry and thirsty for knowledge, with an incredibly vivid imagination; and we often had the ability to motivate, inspire, and influence everyone around us to help us in accomplishing our mission. So why is this so difficult to do as adults? What happened? No, Don’t, Can’t As children, we heard the words, no, don’t, and can’t over and over again. We had to sit silently in classes at school, listening while a teacher lectured on math, history, and grammar. Boundaries are a great thing for kids, and education is important. But they don’t foster curiosity or inspire us to ask hard questions or to seek information beyond what we’re given, and those things are an essential part of a great leader. Recapture Childhood Curiosity To be a great leader, one of the things we need to do is unharness that curiosity we had as a kid. We need to give ourselves permission to ask questions, to not only think outside the box, but also to ask questions without easy answers. Give yourself permission to not know the answers. Ask for help. Consult the experts. Educate yourself. Seek new knowledge and information and give your team permission to do the same. Your openness and willingness to be wrong or to learn new things will give them confidence and inspire them to do the same. No one likes working for someone who thinks they know everything and are right all the time. So unleash your inner child. Tune out your fears and tune into your curiosity. Embrace the journey toward greater knowledge. Let it transform your leadership capabilities. Tools for Success If you’re interested in learning more about how to maximize your leadership impact, you need to try our leadership assessment and development tool, the DISC (What’s Your Color?) Leadership Assessment. Take the test today and get your personalized report detailing your leadership strengths and weaknesses as well as exercises and development plans to help you gain the greatest increase in leadership performance. Ingrid Kelada [...]
More Work Doesn’t Equal More Productivity According to the American Dream Project, the average American works between 43 and 51 hours per week. That’s a lot of hours! One key question to consider as you plan your own workweek is, are you getting the best productivity from your work schedule? Does working extra hours actually make us more productive? The truth is, it doesn’t. In fact, the United States is ranked 5th in productivity behind countries like Norway, Belgium, and Ireland. Yet people in those countries work fewer hours than we do. So, how do we make our working hours more productive? Work Time Versus Productive Time Here are some interesting facts to consider: The average person is only productive 5 hours a day, yet our average workday is 8 hours, or more! Fewer people take breaks and vacations than ever before, which means people spend more time working than in past decades. Working more means feeling more exhausted, which also decreases productivity. Why Do We Work So Much? North Americans tend to have a higher living standard than some other countries. A lot of this comes from convenience spending, which is largely driven by our long workdays. But having more things and having easier access to food and entertainment don’t actually promote happier or more productive lives. Instead, those things can be a kind of escapism. We work hard, we’re tired, so we buy ourselves a treat—a fancy prepared dinner or a new outfit—rather than treating our bodies and minds to the things we really need, like rest and companionship. Happiness Equals Productivity Want to know how you can maximize your productivity while decreasing your stress? The answer might surprise you. Happiness! Taking time to invest in your happiness has a significant impact on your productivity at work. According to the Great Place to Work Institute, the companies with the happiest employees are also the most productive. Happy people have more energy, are more resilient, and suffer from fewer health problems. In other words, taking regular breaks and limiting your work time so that you allow yourself to rest and spend time with people you love actually makes you a better, more productive worker. Try This For Increased Productivity Set a timer on your phone to remind you to take regular breaks at work. While on your break, go outside and take deep breaths. Focus on a distant object or building to let your eyes rest, especially if you work on a computer. Listen to a favorite song or watch a funny video on YouTube. Get your mind away from your work for a few minutes. When you return to work, notice how your body feels. Do you feel more awake? Do you have more energy? Is your focus sharper? More on Breaks and Happiness For more information on how to improve your productivity by using breaks and managing your time to boost happiness in your life, check out chapters 15 “Take a Break: Life is Not a Race” [...]
A good leader provides constant motivation to his team to help them maintain excellence and quality in results. A good leader always looks for ways to improve efficiency and quality, especially if this can be done by simplifying processes or without increasing an employee’s workload. Here are some skills you can sharpen to boost your leadership skills and help your team be more effective and increase results. 1-Wander Around Do you remember M.B.W.A. aka Management By Wandering Around? It’s still the best, even if it’s a “virtual MBWA”. Observation often gets neglected due the demands on a leader’s time and schedule. Find ways to schedule regular visits to your team’s work environment into your calendar. If your office is nearby, try blocking out a few minutes before or after lunch to walk through and check on your team. If you’re far away from your team, stay connected and use technology like video calls. Also, when possible travel to their location and spend time working with them on a regular basis. When you visit, notice workflow and ask questions. Is everything going okay? Does everyone understand what they’re working on? If not, who is the best person to assist them? Observing employees work procedures and the work flow is foundational to implementing adjustments and improving results. To have credibility, a leader must be seen and trusted to be up to date with what is happening in the work place. 2-Feedback and Praise Fair monitoring helps keep the ship on course and gives employees confidence when expectations are clear. Give feedback regularly, especially when things are going well. It’s easy to fall into the trap of only confronting an employee when there’s a problem. Regular praise and feedback help raise employee morale. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Do your best to provide quick individual assessments on a regular basis. Think of the time and energy you spend on feedback as a direct investment in your team. Set goals with your team and any leaders who work with you. Make sure everyone understands the role they play in reaching those goals. 3-Demonstrate Working Knowledge and Expertise Have you ever seen the show Undercover Boss? One common theme that runs through each episode is the way the leaders have become detached from the actual workings of their businesses. They may have lost touch with how difficult the job can be or may have inadvertently implemented policies or procedures which actually make the average worker’s job harder while not providing adequate compensation for the changes. Good leaders stay connected to their workers. If you do not possess the expertise and knowledge needed for tasks employees regularly complete, consult them regularly and LISTEN. This is important in order to maintain an accurate and informed overall picture of the business. 4-Ability to Anticipate To keep on the cutting edge in business, it’s vital to be open and curious about upcoming trends. While managing the present to ensure ongoing excellence, a good leader also looks towards the future. [...]
Did you know that... "Studies show that 70% - 80% of change initiatives in organizations fail" -John Kotter As an organizational psychologist, I can tell you that this alarming failure rate is often attributed to the human factor! Here are 3 classical myths that I frequently deal with in my practice. Myth #1 - It is important to communicate the information in groups Several organizations formulate a communications plan and focus on presenting the changes in information sessions to employees. The goal is to deliver the same message to all employees so they can hear it at the same time and in the same way, minimizing misinterpretations and rumors. Warning!! This often has the opposite effect. Within a group, many people avoid speaking and asking questions. I often say "after every meeting, there's a meeting ... it's the real meeting ... the bosses are not invited and employees really say what they think! " What to do? Alternate your modes of communication: large groups, small groups, and individual meetings. Myth #2 - Focus on the benefits of change It is clear that it is important to present the reasons that motivated our organization to implement the change as well as the benefits deriving from the change. We want this to be positive, right? Warning!! Managing change is not about selling. If we talk too much about the positive without addressing the obstacles and potential difficulties, we give the impression of not understanding or care about the impacts and people will be suspicious. What to do? Present a realistic portrait from the start. There are always pros and cons associated with a decision; if you are aware of these, then they must be pointed out. Solutions can be found by working collaboratively. Myth #3 - We must organize meetings when we have NEW information to share We all know that organizing follow-up meetings while implementing change is important. Often, we wait for new information to share before organizing a meeting so that the communication is relevant and value-added. Warning!! The less we communicate in times of change, the less we manage the information. Every day, people are discussing the changes. If we do not plan for frequent dialogue, disinformation and rumors will take over. What to do? Schedule periodic meetings and hold them regardless...whether there is something new to discuss or not. If we cancel a meeting because we are waiting for answers or because there is not much new to discuss ... people will worry. It is better to have short frequent regular meetings and ask people to share where they are, their successes, obstacles, etc. Looking for More Leadership Tools? Get started today with our Leadership Assessment and Development Tool, a test which will help you maximize your leadership impact. The test reveals your strengths and weaknesses and then provides you with a focused development plan, including exercises, which will lead to huge increases in performance. Invest in your leadership potential by taking the test today!
Having more than 25 years of practice and experience under my belt, I can share with you 2 winning strategies to have more impact as a leader.
Good Management is Key According to Gallup, a US firm specializing in management research, in a survey of more than one million Americans, "people quit their bosses, not the organization." The effect of mismanagement is widely felt. Gallup also determined that poorly managed teams are on average 50% less productive and 44% less profitable than well-managed teams. As an organizational psychologist, I can confirm that an apparent lack of commitment from employees is often the result of the absence of effective leadership from their boss or bosses! The following are 3 common mistakes that I have often observed in my practice and tips that could help you improve your performance management skills. 1 - Waiting until the end of the project or the year to give feedback We often wait before giving feedback for several reasons: lack of time, we do not want to disrupt, derail or demotivate people; it is unpleasant, etc. But without a concrete way to measure performance, and without feedback, one cannot improve. My advice: Think of "just in time". Feedback must be given quickly to be useful and have the desired impact. Especially with the new generations fueled by instant communications, I recommend using the "48-hour" principle: you have a window of two days after an event to find time to share your observations. 2 - Too much recognition can play tricks on you Managers sometimes ask me if it is really necessary to praise someone for doing a job they are paid to do. Conversely, I am also asked if too much positive feedback could make the employee arrogant or less diligent at their job. However, one of the most frequent complaints at work is the lack of recognition. My advice: There is very little risk associated with frequently highlighting our appreciation. Giving positive feedback remains, in my opinion, a simple and free way to value the members of our team while directly impacting their performance. Remember that positive reinforcement increases desired behaviors and attitudes. 3 – Getting too close to employees Traditionally, managers were recommended to maintain a "professional distance" with employees. Things have changed. In March 2015, Forbes magazine cites several studies that show that friendships at work have several positive effects. My advice: we want to work with people we love. We work harder for a boss who shows interest in us, and not strictly on a professional level. I suggest you review your position and consider the different forms of friendships. Redefine your definition of a "professional friendship." Closer interpersonal contact with people generates commitment usually followed by positive results! Improve Your Performance Management by Understanding Your Team Looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of your team? This Team-Building Assessment Tool is specifically geared for improving team synergy. Learn ways to more effectively manage your team members based on their personality and natural strengths and weaknesses. Improving the effectiveness of your team makes your business more successful. It's an investment worth making. Order your test today. Ingrid Kelada Business Psychologist/Happiness Expert [...]
We've all experienced them. We can't get along with everyone, right? Difficult relationships can be stressful, frustrating and exhausting. But it doesn't have to be that way. Unfortunately, there's really no way to run a business or be a leader or work with people without encountering some difficult relationships. With a few simple tools, though, you can learn to minimize the roller coaster ride dealing with these challenges. You can learn to manage your own reactions in ways that put people at ease and diffuse frustrating situations rather than allowing them to escalate into bigger problems. Here are 4 steps which will help you handle these challenging situations in your professional life. Realize You're On the Same Team. Whether the person you are having issues with is a customer, coworker, peer, or friend, recognize that the issue is the problem, not the person. You can't control another person's reaction or perception of the situation, but you can definitely control yours. Take a deep breath and change your focus: be on the same "team" with the person. Try to understand their point of view. Tackle the problem with them, not because of them. Focus on the Issue. Some people may have difficulty communicating or express themselves in a way you would like them to. Instead of reacting to the way a person delivers information, try to focus on the information itself. What is the actual problem? Try using reflective listening, and restate the problem back to the person. "What I hear you saying is, you're upset about this..." or "It sounds like you're bothered by what happened when...". Validate the Person's Feelings. You may not agree with someone, but empathy will go a long way toward mending a breach between business and customer or leader and team member. Take time to really listen to the complaint the person is sharing with you. Don't interrupt. Be conscious of your body language-- make sure your shoulders are open, arms not crossed, your body and face toward the person. Make eye contact. Nod to show you are paying attention and understand what's being said. Say something like, "I'm sorry this experience has made you feel frustrated." Let the person know that their feelings matter. You don't have to agree with the way they behaved or the solution they're asking for. Simply acknowledge how they're feeling. Shift the Conversation Toward the Outcome. Once you've listened and validated the person's feelings, you can begin to shift the conversation away from the problem and focus on the solution. Do this gently but firmly. Sometimes people get stuck in a loop, restating and restating the problem and exacerbating all the negative emotions associated with it. Draw them toward the solution with statements like, "I can tell this is really bothering you. Let's talk about what we can do to solve the issue." Sometimes the person wants an impossible solution which you're not able to provide. What you can do instead is focus on one actionable part of the [...]
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How to Build Your Ideal Team One of the best and sometimes trickiest parts of being a leader is having the opportunity to build your ideal team. Choosing the right employees can make a huge difference in the success of your company. Employees represent and translate your company's values to your clients. What do you look for in an employee? You probably already have an idea of the education or skillset you're looking for. But how do you determine if a person has the right personality or work ethic to be a great fit for your team? When interviewing prospective employees, always try to notice their energy level and to understand their motivators. Does he seem passionate about he's saying? Is she eager to put her skills toward the job? Build Your Ideal Team with the Right Values and Motivation Ask questions about what drives the person. Do his or her values line up with what's important to your organization and objectives? It's important to choose people who value your ideas and goals. People will respond to genuine connection. You'll also want to build your team to include people with a team mindset. Individuals with this mindset will be problem-solvers because they're invested in the success of the team. They'll look for ways to improve their part of the process because it benefits them and benefits the team as a whole. Ask potential applicants how they have handled workplace problems in the past. Did they deal with things in a way you'd like issues to be handled when working for you? Choosing People with Potential to Build Your Ideal Team Further As you meet with applicants, consider not only the current needs of your business, but what you hope to achieve in the next several years. Find individuals who suit your company today and can help you achieve those longer term goals. Look for their potential for the short term as well as future roles. Is this someone who could someday be a manager? Someone who might have explosive sales potential? Remember to hire for ATTITUDE first, as you can always develop SKILLS later. Tools to Help You Build Your Ideal Team One quick way to uncover this and other critical information about individuals is to offer them a Work Personality Index. This personality questionnaire takes about 20 minutes and provides a comprehensive assessment of work behavior. Collect behavioral data on a person's energy and drive, work style, ability to work with others, ability to deal with stress and managerial potential.