Communicate from Abundance Rather Than From Scarcity
What do people want most in their career? Statistics show that people want the positive reinforcement and acknowledgement that lets them know they are doing a good job.
The number one issue people have in the workforce today is, “Will I be valued and will I have a job in the future?” You want the people who are working for you to want to be there. Otherwise, what do you think they are going to spend their time doing?
Yet what do managers do to acknowledge their people’s value and appease their concerns? Instead, managers focus more on the problems coming at them rather than on their team’s achievements or solutions to drive continued, sustainable growth; continually putting out fires and jumping from one problem to the next.
The byproduct of acknowledgement is you build morale which breeds the type of culture that you are looking to create. Ask yourself, do you get acknowledged for something on a daily basis? Chances are, if you have not been the recipient of consistent, positive and authentic praise, then you may be conditioned that acknowledgment is not all that critical or effective. After all, we’ve learned from our predecessors. Just ask yourself, how often do you authentically acknowledge people on a daily basis?
Why don’t we praise our employees enough? Why are we so stingy with our acknowledgement? What are we afraid might happen? Do we feel that we only have a limited supply of acknowledgment and we don’t want to use it up?
Oh I can see it now. Here’s the visual, You are in your office one day and one of your salespeople comes over to you and says, “I just want you to know that I’ve noticed you are taking more time and interest in my work and with the positive reinforcement I’m getting around my behavior that’s generating some worthwhile results, I’m getting the sense that you are appreciating what I’m doing here more and more. Well, I just want you to know that you are making me feel just too good about myself and the company so, this has just got to stop!”
While this is an obvious exaggeration, the real truth is, we don’t acknowledge others more often because we either don’t know how to and are a bit reluctant to do so, are afraid if we acknowledge people too much they’ll start to slack off, simply don’t think it’s really all that important or we are afraid that it won’t come across as genuine.
They key to using positive reinforcement and acknowledgment as a powerful, motivating tool is to use it authentically, measurably and unconditionally, rather than issuing generic blanket and hollow statements of praise that sound like, “Good work!” Instead, recognize when something specific has occurred. Notice what the person did or how they have grown and praise them for who they are and who they are becoming.