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What’s the Secret to Get Our Staff to Give Their Best?

What’s the Secret?

Staff Who Give Their Best

It’s no secret that as leaders we’ve all dealt with colleagues, direct reports, front line staff who just don’t seem to give it their all. It can feel like we’re at our wits end when we simply cannot get them to show some enthusiasm, put forth more effort… or worse – just show up and ‘be present’.

Sam Walton once said something that sums this up beautifully, ‘outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish’.

So, it’s our job to find out what makes our people tick.

Well, first of all – if they were worth hiring in the first place, there was some redeeming qualities about them. But you know best if they are worth saving or if it’s better to show them the door.

Did you know that constant criticism can actually backfire because our subconscious is being constantly reminded? It’s human nature to ‘tune out’ and unfortunately that means we run the risk of having our people tune out the good parts, too.

Not too long ago I was working with a client who operates a property management company. He was at his wits end because he was noticing a rapid decline in the care and maintenance of his rental properties. In other words, he was recognizing a big difference between standard preventative maintenance needs and outright neglect.

Come to find out the neglected property was a result of the auto-responsive neglect imparted on those who worked for him and his tenants. The constant criticism he emitted was backfiring. Not only did he have his work cut out for him regarding the maintenance and care of the neglected properties, but the hard work came when he realized the core of his problem pointed right back at him.

On the Flip Side

Did you know that lack of criticism can cause the offensive behavior to atrophy from lack of attention?

It’s not quite that simple, but the bottom line is that it’s human nature to want to repeat the behaviors that have earned us some kudos. It’s also human nature to ‘tune out’, to get defensive, and to adopt an attitude of just ‘throwing in the towel’ when we’re constantly criticized.

It’s a snowball effect. Whichever way you choose – whether it’s through criticism or through praise. It’s human nature to respond. It’s a subconscious, oftentimes subliminal effort that is applied… but the bottom line is that results start to transpire.

Some tips to try:

·       Praise even the most delicate improvements. You’ll soon notice those behaviors will begin to be repeated

·       Suggest a reputation for them to live up to. I don’t mean come right out and say it, but encourage, by way of the words you chose, that which you want to see in this particular employee. Chances are, they’ll want to make you proud and try to live up to the ‘reputation’ you’ve given them 

·       Integrate positive words into your vocabulary. It might take some time to get the word ‘no’ out of your vocabulary, but strive to reserve those negative connotation for when they are truly needed – rather than a means to get your point across

It’s one of the easiest ways to get any of our lackluster people more involved. Try it.

Tip: Our time is actually far better spent boosting our top performers for continued and heightened success. You hold the key. You know where Pareto’s Principle applies best. Take advantage. It might just work