What I just did felt so great! It wasn’t about me, it was about employee. It was about encouragement and it worked like a charm. Every leadership conference you have ever attended has preached to you about employee encouragement and the incredible impact it can make. Many leaders however, have a hard time finding the opportunity and the creative means by which to encourage employees.
I’ll share with you a story about employee encouragement that recently happened here at Allied Equipment. Our leaders on the production floor have the ability to purchase small consumables that are needed in the shop for the day to day operations of our production floor. Typically, these items are ordered over the phone or scratched on a pad in such a way that our accounting team often has a hard time deciphering what was purchased, by whom, and how much it cost. I walked into the payable’s department the other day and noticed some very nice looking PO forms that had been submitted by one such employee.
Upon further investigation I realized this employee had taken it upon himself to create a form, so that the staff could easily identify items he had purchased. I just had to call him into my office and thank him for taking the time and caring effort to make such a document to help out laterally within the company. Here is how I offer encouragement and made it about employee, not me.
Pay Attention – Keep an eye out for the good news. Make an effort to think about employee and not about yourself. Look at things in terms of how good the employee did, not about how their work helps or effects you.
Formal and Personal – While a slap on the back will go a long way, a formal show of appreciation will encourage an employee for much longer. Call them into your office. Get out from behind your desk. Again, make the meeting about employee, not about yourself.
Give Examples – Show them what the norm is around the office so they understand how they went above and beyond. Until they understand what the benchmark is, they won’t know how to rise above it. Once you have shown them where the bar is set, and offer encouragement, they’ll know how to over achieve again.
Explain – Tell them in detail what you liked about their work so they understand what they did that was so great. This further makes it about employee first. Getting specific will encourage them to focus on those things which were pleasing to you on future projects.
Respect – Tell them point blank that you respect them and value their work! In order to properly encourage them, they need to hear it directly from you. Look them in the eye and make sure they understand that they are respected and valued.
I See You – End the conversation by letting them know that you see their hard work and effort. This lets them know that even when you don’t say anything, you’re still watching them and paying attention. It also encourages them to work hard all the time.
The most important thing about employee encouragement is authenticity. Being genuine with a person and honestly sharing with them your appreciate will ignite a fire deep inside their soul. Many leaders are nervous about saying kind things to their employees. Kindness from a leader is as essential to a follower as oxygen is to all living things. So don’t be afraid, be excited to offer encouragement for a job well done.
Questions: What are some things you’ve caught your employees, or family, doing right?