“It’s not a bad idea to
occasionally spend a little time
thinking about things you take for granted.
Plain everyday things.”
While out the other night, I looked up to see a crescent moon. The sky was dark and clear and the moon stood out beautifully. I had to wonder how many people were gazing at the moon as I was. I also had to wonder how many people were missing the opportunity to stop and admire the moon that evening. I drove on thinking I should take more opportunities to appreciate the things and people around me.
This isn’t the first time I’ve touched on this topic. Daily we overlook those things that contribute to the quality of life we live. That includes in the workplace. Leaders set the direction, issue the orders and shoulder the responsibility. Their reputations live and die on successes and failures. Nevertheless, rarely do the successes come about without the efforts of the employees who get the actual work done.
We tend to move about the workplace and take for granted those around us who work hard meeting the goals we set, who work late and reach out to customers meeting their needs, and generally make things happen keeping the company alive. We may run the department, lead the division or own the company but it’s the employees doing the heavy lifting.
Take some time to appreciate the view from your office and out on the work floor. Recognize that if you are the only one to show up to work, much less happens then if you are gone and all the employees show up as usual. Walk around and say thank you to your employees for their efforts and contributions. Be sincere; if you’re going to recognize achievement, make it for a real accomplishment or exemplary customer service. Rotating through the employee list and awarding “Employee of the Month” with a special parking spot is more of a drawing than recognition.
In addition, remember to practice gracious delivery. Often we need to deliver information to folks regarding bad news, poor performance or unacceptable behavior. It’s important to make sure the message conveys in a way that it’s heard, understood and embraced. Yelling or sarcasm distract from the message. Silence deprives others from information altogether. Keeping quiet when someone deserves a “thank you” or needs a reprimand can be a missed opportunity for letting folks know you notice them and their work. Exercise transparency when sharing information. That way, when you make a decision, employees may not like it but they will understand the rationale behind it.
There is a great deal of sophisticated management theory from many sources on improving the workplace. I tend to think that those theories are not nearly as important as strong relationships and good communication. If we spent more time communicating and recognizing employees, I’m willing to theorize employee engagement would be at higher levels than it is today and it would pave the way for even more improvements.
It’s easy to overlook the people and circumstances that contribute to the everyday successes of staying in business another day. Don’t minimize the value of frequent and authentic communication, meaningful recognition for a job well done and sincere appreciation for the daily contributions of your employees. Don’t forget that your job depends on your people as much as their jobs depend on you. The only thing to take for granted is the fact that you have more to be thankful for than you realize.
Here to serve,
Next month: ?