Could you show up for work for a week and be totally useless? According the latest Gallop Survey of the American Workplace, most of us do. How so? Nearly six in ten (57%) of us are only partly engaged which means that we spread out our uselessness over a longer period. We spread our week of wasting time, day dreaming and a hundred other unimportant activities over the month. One seventh (15%) of us don’t even try to pretend we are useful. We are actively disengaged, looking for another job and focused on lowering morale for anyone we can contaminate.
As bad as that sounds, Gallop’s rule number four for great managers may have an even worse track record. The rule states that at least every week, employees should have received recognition and praise for doing good work. Have you been recognized or praised at least 50 times in the last year for what you do on your job? Me neither and I’m self-employed!!
To actually give recognition and praise requires involvement with people. You have to know what they do, observe their work product, and have a system of measurement. I have seen Tom Peter’s “management by walking around” replaced with “management by metrics.” Rather than replace, great managers combine.
Metrics allow you to praise the performance and not just the person, a trap many of us encourager types fall into. Walking around keeps you in tune with your team while they are working and signals you are interested.
Recognition and praise can be as varied as your ingenuity. While a public forum is nice, private gestures are equally effective. I love to ask employees to fill out a sheet telling me what they like and what would be meaningful for a job well done. Sometimes that may be an afternoon to attend a child’s tennis match or a movie pass. I love little notes or crazy mementos that allow the employee to explain the reason when asked, “What’s that?”
Great managers exemplify servant leadership. Servant leaders have a tough job, finding 50 ways to praise their staff each year. When it comes to engagement they get it. They fully understand that if they “make their week” for their employees, that employee may soon forget taking a week off each month.