You’ve heard of the adage, “People don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” On this Valentine’s Day, it is a great reminder to ask yourself, “When was the last time I showed my customers, staff members, team members, that I care?”
During a recent three-day supervisory class that I facilitated for Washington state governmental employees, I was impressed with how many leaders talked about the human side of leadership. In the midst of technology, changing priorities, and budget cuts, they recognized how important it was for them to show their team that they cared – about each team member individually and about how each person’s role positively impacted the success of their team.
On this holiday and throughout the year, here are three practical ways to show you care:
- Say thank you – One of the best ways to show we care is to express our gratitude. In our instant message society, receiving a handwritten note means a lot. A sincere thank you – whether written or spoken, tells an employee, “I notice and what you do – matters.”
- Acknowledge extra efforts – Think about a team member who always goes above and beyond. Ideally, all your team members have this kind of attitude and extra commitment but practically speaking, there are some people who just do more than others. Show you care about that person’s contribution by acknowledging that person’s efforts. Or how about a former low performing employee who has successfully achieved his or her goals? Show you care about this person by acknowledging this person’s efforts.
- Recognize all employees – Many times, we can’t do a lot with extra salary or benefits but what we can do is recognize every person’s impact. Take the time to show you care by making sure team members know their impact to your team’s goals.
As we continue our “Creating a culture of contribution” series, we focus our attention on the subject of recognition. Here are some creative ways you can recognize your staff, team, or board members:
- Publicly recognize contribution. (Make sure you make recognition meaningful – some people would prefer more personal recognition – so the best thing you can do is ask your people how they want to be recognized)
- Tell staff what their greatest contributions were in the last week, month, and year.
- Let people know how their contributions are valued and how they contribute to your organization’s mission.
- When people fail, reframe the failure as an opportunity for learning.
Numerous studies show that recognition is the key to people feeling appreciated and engaged in an endeavor. By taking the time to intentionally share a few words of recognition, your employees and volunteers feel appreciated and engaged.
What can you say today that will help your staff or volunteers feel recognized?
Have you ever been in an organization where exceptional, hard working, high performance contributors were rewarded … by giving more and more work? One of the better ways to ensure that people will continue to contribute is to simply recognize good work. Let your people know that good work is valued and give continuous feedback regarding their performance and contributions so that they can continue to grow and be successful in their jobs. If more of a challenge is what motivates someone, consider providing other career or leadership opportunities for these high-performers so their enthusiasm and commitment is continually renewed. Or these may be just the people you can count on to serve as mentors or trainers to others on their team or committee.
A few more thoughts on this point:
- Recognize effectively– Not every person likes being recognized the same way –so know your team members and ask them how they want to be recognized.
- Define what “good” means – Create clear expectations for your team so that each person knows what the definition of “good” is – set clear job goals and performance expectations and include deadlines.
- Expand your view of work – Work can be defined as the actual task as well as the manner that task is carried out. Broaden “work” to include people’s interactions with others, their ability to work as a team.