Motivating your employees to succeed is much easier than you think. The problem with many managers today is that they spend most of their time micromanaging. I’m sure you know of the manager who is more interested in what you do wrong, and shows little concerns for your wins.
The key to becoming an excellent boss is developing your ability to recognize good work by your employees. Please note that I said good work, and not off-the-charts accomplishments. When someone performs at an extraordinary level, everyone will know, and recognition will come. However, the daily, non-stop effort done by your employees cannot be ignored.
Look for Opportunities to Praise
Employees have key tasks to do everyday. For example, the IT phone support specialist quickly resolves a password issue, and the insurance salesperson provides a prospect with updated information regarding a policy. While these activities appear mundane and routine, they are critical to the success of the organization.
A successful manager is looking for opportunities to pat an employee on the back. Most employees will tell you that receiving recognition for good work is important to them, and often motivates them to improve.
The praise should be provided both privately and in public. Both strategies are effective. Regardless of how you praise employees, it’s important to do it quickly. The compliment has a bigger impact when the activity is fresh on the minds of everyone.
Praise Must be Specific
Compliments resonate when the manager is specific. In other words, you want to have a clear idea what the employee did well, and address it directly. General praise carries little weight, and is often counterproductive.
Here are examples of specific praise:
- “Sophia, your work on the Q1 budget reports was terrific! I received an email from the CFO complimenting Finance for submitting the information in a timely fashion. I know you spent many hours, including last weekend, getting it done. We are excited to have you on our team!”
- “Sal, the presentation to Toyota was awesome! I was more impressed with your ability to field the Six Sigma questions. I could tell they were looking at you as the subject matter expert, and we must have you on the team when we visit their higher-ups at the Tsutsumi plant in Japan. Let’s get together later this week to discuss our moving forward plan.”
- “Hi, Everyone. I would like to thank you for attending this very early morning meeting. I wanted to start by sharing some good news. As you know, our numbers are in from last month, and we beat expectations. Well, we did more than beat expectations! We are in a different stratosphere! I think all of you know that our team worked together to realize these unbelievable results. We focused on the customer, making sure they had the right HR solution for their organization. Our sales team was terrific! Our IT team made the onboarding process easy! Our leadership team provided the guidance and vision and, of course, the funding. Our success is attributable to everyone on this team. I’m excited to be part of this over-achieving team!”
The bottom line for any organization improves when you are committed to praising good work. Look for every opportunity to compliment your employees, and make sure the praise is genuine and specific.