What Your Staff Hear

What do your staff say they hear from you?

Some time ago I completed interviewing several employees from a well-established company in the service industry. Their manager has been in her current role for nearly 2 years. She is not only technically competent, with more than ten years of industry experience, she is also particularly articulate.

I asked her a question that I ask nearly every manager, “What do your staff most remember, about what they hear from you?” the response was “I guess they would say that I tell them about their performance results, and consequently their updated gaps to targets.”

And from the answers I noted from her staff, she was ‘nearly to a word’ correct, which in my view means that she was not sufficiently speaking the right words.

The words your staff should remember the most, are your words of appreciation of them. That’s their world!

Every member of her team that I interviewed, suggested that she was very knowledgeable. The majority also said that she was committed to her job and the company. However, every member told me she rarely appreciated them or offered any (of what I would describe as) positive recognition for their contributions.

And here we see one of the key differentiators between a good manager and a great manager. A good manager effectively transfers all necessary information; a great manager not only effectively transfers all necessary information but communicates sincere gratitude for their team member’s efforts, results, and specific contributions.

A core need of the human is to feel valued and appreciated. But here’s the thing, this produces a true win/win!

It’s quite an experience to observe what a person who believes they are genuinely valued and appreciated will do for their boss and their employer. And beyond effort, there are numerous additional benefits including loyalty and protection.

So if you are not already a renowned motivator, you should put a focused effort into becoming a perpetual and timely encourager. I’m of the view that, like so many things in life, this is a choice. It starts by fully understanding what inspiration is, and motivation is.

The key is genuineness. You need to think it, and believe it, before you speak it!

So you never credit mediocrity, but you find something that allows you to express your belief in their individuality. This builds their esteem and communicates respect.

You start by making a deliberate choice to find merit in your team member. They may not be a top performer yet, or even close, but focus on just one thing they do well and pay tribute to it. Understanding their particular behaviour profile will assist you to decide whether this should be done privately or in front of their peers.

The vital part of this is to convey your real gratitude for the part they are playing in contributing to the team. This is a pinnacle aspect of employee engagement and a crucial factor in the relationship between a great manager and their team members.

You won’t find this as an expense item on your chart of accounts, but given time I guarantee it will positively impact your balance sheet.

I have spent decades working on improving organisational performance measures with managers, leaders, and owners of businesses and organisations. Consequently, I confidently put it to you that valuing, and tangibly appreciating your team members can be a game-changer.

Think about this; What targets could you achieve, if even just 50% of your team were putting in an extraordinary level of effort and focus? However, this is much more valuable than just reaching or even breaking through targets. This can be a culture changer and a governance enhancer.

The difference could be you! And it can begin today, by you choosing to change what you say to your team.

Now, please hear me when I tell you, that this doesn’t mean you stop correcting, and when necessary reprimanding, an underperforming or incompetent staff member. Left unaddressed, such individuals can, at best, be counterproductive, and at worse, dangerous to your organisation’s culture, performance, and security. Thankfully, the majority of your team members are not going to fit the above description.

Here are 21 words to introduce into your regular vocabulary, that will change what your staff remember you saying.

AppreciationCreativeEsteemHigh regardPositiveThankfulnessValued

Changing your dialogue will not happen overnight, but with some concentrated effort to use the reward words listed above, plus extra words of your preference, shortly you will find yourself discovering that your team are talking about how you do value them. Then, watch the positive changes that flow from your ‘mouth work’.

Hope you got something useful from this blog.

Question: Do you have a ‘What Your Staff Hear’ story? If so, please share it with us.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Alternatively, I always appreciate constructive comments on ‘What Your Staff Hear’.

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