The Day-to-Day: 5 Ways to Remind Your Employees of Their Worth Every Day

employee-worth

As the culture of the workforce evolves, employees search for and stay at companies that both compensate them adequately and recognize their worth as a member of the team.

To let your employees know that you value their work, it may sound easy to dole out bonuses; however, your budget may not allow for that and waiting for a potential payout in the distant future does not speak to the work your employees perform every day. There are easier and more cost-effective ways to acknowledge your staff’s worth:

Make it personal.

Just as each employee brings different skills and experiences to your business, individuals will have varying preferences in regards to acknowledgement. Some employees may appreciate a brief check-in from the boss during the day, while others may prefer to be a part of an email group that receives a daily motivational quote or industry-relevant book or article recommendations. Take time to learn what your employees need from you; this consideration lets them know that you are interested and invested in your communication with them. Giving time and attention is one of the best and easiest gifts you can give to help others feel important.

Pass on the praise.

When you hear praise about an employee from a leader or peer, let them know right away with an email, a note, or a visit to their desk. Include your own praise as well; your employee will know that you not only hear the compliment, but that you also agree. The instant recognition can feel very rewarding to your employees, and knowing that their work is appreciated by you and others can maintain high morale around the office.

Leave the door open.

Though you may not be able to do this every day, set aside time at least a few days each week for employees to communicate with you in person. Block off this time on your calendar and let them know this is their opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns, communicate ideas, or praise their co-worker. When staff bring you ideas, make sure your open-door policy is truly open. Your employees will know that you value their voice and welcome their opinions.

 Set goals and incentives.

Meet with your employees, in groups if necessary, to create goals for the upcoming quarter or year. Agree on an incentive, whether it be a catered meal from a favorite restaurant or a group outing for a fun activity. Check status periodically (shows you are paying attention). Congratulate them on their progress, or give words of encouragement if they fall behind. Employees will know you value their work when you cheer them on, rather than just demand results.

 See the human side.

The people on your team are multidimensional individuals who have complex lives that extend beyond the office walls. Get to know them by engaging them in conversation and taking the time to truly listen to what they have to say. Ask about their weekend or their family; get them talking about their interests. To foster a little more engagement in the office, set up a corkboard for employees to post fliers about their book clubs, quilting circles, or bowling leagues. Hopefully, when people see that they are valued as multifaceted human beings, they will feel more comfortable being their authentic selves and will open up to you when a problem arises or when they have an out-of-the-box idea.

 

In all of these examples, good communication is key.  When you make time and space for employees to communicate with you, and truly listen and engage, they know that you respect their ideas and acknowledge their worth.

Stop the Micromanaging Madness

Micromanage

Have you ever worked with a manager whose main approach to leadership was “my way or the highway?” Every decision you made, every project you worked on was carefully scrutinized. And there was the constant feeling of someone looking over your shoulder, waiting for you to make a mistake.

I know I’ve experienced leadership like that! When I was leading a fundraising team for a major organization, one of my managers constantly held me under his thumb, sometimes forcing me to make decisions regarding my team that I didn’t want to make. He didn’t trust me—or anyone, for that matter—to take action without his input. This atmosphere of distrust and restriction made it difficult to go to work every day. How can anyone do their job when they are immersed in such a toxic and demeaning environment?

I realize, of course, that not every micro-manager is a power-hungry bully that likes to exert dominance over his staff. Many micro-managers are well-intentioned and take great pride in every detail of their work. After all, it’s their name on the line, right?

No matter the intention, the outcome is the same. Micro-managing causes more harm than good. According to an article by Christina Bielaszka-DuVernay of the Harvard Business Review, “A consistent pattern of micromanagement tells an employee you don’t trust his work or his judgment; it is a major factor in triggering disengagement.” The article goes on to cite evidence from Gallup Press that “absenteeism caused by disengagement costs a typical 10,000-person company $600,000 a year in salary for days where no work was performed, and that ‘disengagement-driven turnover costs most sizable businesses millions every year.’”

Do you want to avoid alienating your team and causing so much dread that they scatter like flies every time you come around the corner? Stop micromanaging with these tips:

 

Put down the hover board.

No one wants to be checked up on every hour of the day. Think about what a time waster you are being—and time does equal money. Learn to trust your employees with the tasks you give them and set clear expectations. Encourage them to communicate with you on their progress—at their own discretion.

Listen.

Get to know what makes your employees tick. Set up individual meetings to understand their working preferences and match them to projects well suited to their interests and strengths. It will keep them engaged while also helping to ease your mind.

Learn to delegate.

It’s impossible to control every little detail of your department; trust your team to help you get the work done. Your job is to see the big picture and set the vision for success. If your staff has been appropriately trained, chances are they will be able to handle the work independently and will appreciate you giving them opportunities to shine. If something goes wrong, that will be a far better learning ground than if you micro-manage and constantly tell staff what may go wrong with any of their planned approaches. By delegating, you have more time to accomplish your own tasks and your staff will become more proficient—a win/win situation!

Appreciate diversity of thought.

Be aware that your team might approach a project differently than you would or produce different results. That’s okay! There is often more than one correct way to complete a project or task and it’s helpful—not harmful—to have a diverse set of perspectives.

Provide feedback and praise.

If you are always on the lookout for mistakes, your team will quickly feel stifled and defeated, and productivity will likely cease. See the positives in each of your employees and let them know when they are doing a solid job. If there is a situation where an employee is not meeting expectations, sit down with them and take the time to figure out what is going on.

 

Micromanaging is no way to build a great team and work environment. Refocus your management style by utilizing these tips and start building trust and confidence in your leadership.

 

Have you manifested into a micromanager? Contact me for help on turning you into a manager that leads!

5 Ways to Inspire Your Team

The word “inspire” brings a cascade of things to mind – sunsets, paintings, trees, books, maybe even a mentor or someone famous. But how often does your workplace manager come to mind? According to a recent Gallup report titled State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders, managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores. To make matters worse, a Gallup study of 7,272 U.S. adults revealed that one in two had left their job to get away from their manager. Not very inspiring statistics, right?

How can these numbers be improved? Here are some suggestions for leaders to help inspire their team.

See your employees as human beings:

Have you ever asked yourself why you just don’t seem to be connecting with your team? Think about how you can get to know each individual on a level beyond the daily grind. Ask them to share personal stories about their life. Monitor their working habits and assign projects that will cater to their working style and personal strengths. Your employees will perform better and feel valued if they believe you are truly listening to their needs.

Show your human side too:

Share your story with your team, and make sure to talk to your failures as well as your successes. Your team will respect you for your honesty, and they will be able to easily relate to you instead of seeing you as just another distant manager.

Create brainstorming opportunities:

Allow time for your team members to connect and come up with their own ideas. Ensure you are openly accepting of ideas, not immediately judging them (assessment can come later). Book a location outside the usual work environment and watch the sparks fly.

Emphasize purpose:

People like to know their efforts mean something. A purpose-driven employee will be far more engaged and productive. Help your team feel like they are part of the bigger picture by sharing company goals and showing them how their work contributes to those goals. Be sure to check-in regularly with your team as company goals and benchmarks change.

Conduct career advancement meetings, not just feedback meetings:

It is great to meet with your team members on a one-on-one basis to keep abreast of project progress and employee performance, but don’t forget to have career-centered conversations too. Employees know their manager is the one person who will either help or hinder their advancement. Don’t be a roadblock to their success; really take the time to understand their career goals and help them get there.

Hopefully these tips have “inspired” you to take action the next time you walk into work and wish to see improvement in your team!

Contact me if you would like further help with creating an inspiring workplace.

Leading with Love

Lead with Love and Compassion

It may seem strange to associate leadership with love. Leaders are supposed to be tough, right? Thick-skinned. Fearless. Implacable. That’s what conventional wisdom has taught us, but these traditional views of leadership may be fundamentally flawed. Evidence is mounting that shows that tough leadership only works well in the short-term, while love-based leadership is more effective and sustainable in the long-term.

Ray Williams, leadership development advisor and author of The Leadership Edge, has conducted extensive research on both love-based and fear-based leadership. According to Williams, “Driving, directive, coercive styles of leadership may move people and get results in the short-term, but the dissonance it creates is associated with toxic relationships and emotions such as anger, anxiety, and fear.” Fear might motivate your staff in the immediate future, but a more sustainable leadership model is one based on love.

What does love-based leadership look like?

Love-based leadership means showing genuine care for others, really trying to understand and appreciate your co-workers, and practicing empathy. It also means developing an atmosphere of trust and openness, so that others will not hesitate to approach you with a problem or bring forth an idea. This kind of open communication and mutual respect is what makes people want to get up and go to work in the morning. Doctor Maria Church, author of Love-Based Leadership, says, “Happiness can be directly translated into engagement, productivity, and satisfaction—that is the wide definition of productive work. Likewise, positive affect is associated with multiple positive outcomes including better performance ratings at work, higher salaries, and improved health.”

Keep in mind, workplaces do not transform over night. It takes time to build your leadership brand and establish an atmosphere of empathy, love, and trust. What’s the key to making love the center of your leadership style? Practice compassion every day.

You can start by paying attention to your co-workers and asking them questions. Inquire about their weekend, their family, what they are doing after work. Ask them their thoughts about a current work project or challenge. Get them talking and truly listen to what they have to say. Stop thinking about what you’d like to contribute to the conversation and start focusing on the person in front of you. Intentional listening is one of the keys to developing a good understanding of others.

Take time to learn about and care about someone every day. You’ll find that your leadership brand will naturally evolve into one based on love and genuine compassion. Remember, a workplace that is open, compassionate, and healthy starts with one loving leader at a time. Be that leader.

 

Like what you’re reading? Get in touch!

Are You Sitting Still?

Are You Sitting Still

“Take action!” An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention.” –Dr. Steve Maraboli

 

What is your long-term plan? Would you like to make $1 million per year? Or become a leader within your organization? Or achieve the perfect work-life balance that allows you to pursue your hobbies and spend more quality time with your family?

No matter your goal, there’s one thing that’s certain: you won’t achieve it by sitting still.

I know plenty of people with great intention, but little follow-through. They wait and hope that things will happen, but lack the initiative to step forward and make it happen. Don’t let that be you!

It may be easier to sit still, settle for a less-than-perfect situation, and let life glide by, but it is far less rewarding and can wear you down over time. If I’m working with a client who has a positive dream or goal, I encourage her to pursue it—the challenges she might face pale in comparison with the rewards of seeking growth and improvement. And whether or not the original goal is reached, she will undoubtedly achieve more than if she had done nothing!

So, what’s holding you back?

Some of the common reasons I’ve heard for not pursuing a positive change include:

  • Fear of failure
  • Lack of resources
  • Lack of support
  • An unclear road map (unsure of the steps to take to make the change)
  • Lack of confidence

Fortunately, none of these growth-inhibiting excuses are insurmountable. With a little guidance and coaching, anyone with a positive, motivated attitude can overcome these obstacles and begin moving forward in their career or personal life.

Taking steps toward positive growth is all part of aligning your values with your purpose, something leadership expert Steve Farber calls “finding your frequency,” just as someone might tune a radio dial.

But, how do you get started? How can you start moving forward in a positive manner and overcome your perceived road blocks? Here are four resources to get you going:

  1. Enlist the help of a career or life coach (If you’d like to know more about the benefits of coaching, I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have).
  2. Find an accountability partner—a co-worker or close friend who will motivate you and regularly check in on your progress.
  3. Read! There are several great career books out there that give you specific actions to follow (Of course, you’ll need to follow those actions as well as read about them!). Here are some of my favorites:
    1. Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown
    2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
    3. Credibility, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
    4. What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles
    5. The 20-Minute Networking Meeting, by Marcia Ballinger and Nathan A. Perez
  1. Take the time to sit quietly and reflect on your long-term goals and values. A career or life coach can help you piece together your vision into a clear action plan.

Are you sitting still? A bright future is within your grasp, all you have to do is get up and start moving!

For additional guidance on setting your future into motion, feel free to contact me today.