Leaders to Leader

Lessons from the Great American Leaders & How They Apply Now

Posts Tagged ‘recognition

16 Ways to Motivate Employees and to Celebrate Their Successes

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CelebratingSuccess

A leader’s primary function is to help employees develop a strong belief in the mission of the company and the importance of their individual jobs. Their secondary function is to ensure optimal results from delegated assignments and tasks given to employees. Excellent results spring from methods of motivation that help employees feel successful and increase their effort toward achieving goals and increasing performance.

Employees are the chief resource leaders can utilize to maintain and enhance their leadership abilities. Therefore, understanding and applying appropriate motivational methods for employees on delegated assignments is important for leaders. By motivating each employee to perform at his or her maximum level of efficiency, leaders also maximize their own success. Furthermore, as leaders motivate their people, they not only help the company gain financially, but also develop personal relationships between themselves and their employees.

Much research in behavioral science has focused on analyzing the factors that contribute to workplace motivation. Many studies indicate that the strongest factors are based upon individual self-determined needs. Aware of these factors, one can craft specific methods in the workplace to foster improvements in employee attitudes, their desire to excel and their feelings of success.

Leaders need to apply such motivational methods to effectively stimulate their organizational unit as a whole and the individuals within it. Once done, their units will reach peak performance, free from slowdowns and negative influences.

Motivational methods are effective when they are aimed at individual satisfaction. This is necessary to understand because methods that are positive motivators for some employees are not always effective for others. Each individual is driven by specific needs that determine their performance and whether or not they will accept new assignments. If specific needs are not met, it inhibits the employee’s desire to accept new challenges and delegated opportunities.

Outlined below are 16 major methods focused on individual needs and desires that leaders can use to effectively and consistently motivate their employees. When used by the leader intermittently, they produce high motivational success.

  1. Help employees see the final results of their dedicated and consistent efforts as being part of advancing their own careers and futures.
  2. Develop and utilize incentive programs that have a definite purpose and meaning for each employee. Linking incentives to productivity and results tends to be a more effective motivator than many other methods.
  3. Take time to give employees deserved praise and meaningful recognition. However, effective leaders will utilize this method in moderation; otherwise, it becomes meaningless. Praise must always be specifically related to performance rather than vague comments like, “You’re doing OK.”
  4. Provide all employees with goal-oriented job descriptions. This method charts a course for them to go in with specific actions they should accomplish to achieve positive results, and guidelines for how to be successful in assignments.
  5. Give each employee the opportunity to achieve. Even small tasks and assignments can build success. Any taste of achievement is a great motivator.
  6. Aid employees in determining personal goals. Leaders should link these to the overall goals of the company.
  7. Help employees acquire and maintain a spirit of achievement. Careful planning and organization of tasks and assignments directed at meaningful results can accomplish this goal.
  8. Help employees set and achieve personal self-improvement goals. These need to be realistic and achievable for individuals to grow and develop skills and knowledge.
  9. Acknowledge and publicly recognize employees’ accomplishments to reinforce the fact that they are valuable and important—a key need for individuals.
  10. Help employees understand their value to the company, the leader and senior management. By verbalizing employees’ value or giving them letters of appreciation to acknowledge their efforts, leaders effectively reinforce that achievements are important to both the individual employee and others.
  11. Tell employees how and why they are performing valuable and useful work. This means giving them effective and useful feedback about their progress in a way that focuses on personal productivity and how to increase performance.
  12. Listen with interest to employees’ problems, ideas, suggestions and grievances. Remember, even if seemingly trivial or irrelevant, these things are important to the employee.
  13. Never neglect or ignore an employee. A failure to provide individual attention is one of the worst mistakes leaders can make in terms of motivating or supervising their employees.
  14. Enact a personal commitment to a vision and direction. Effective leaders show employees how to give personal effort and provide consistent performance to align themselves with the vision.
  15. Help employees develop an increased sense of responsibility. Acceptance of responsibility facilitates feelings of success and a greater sense of self-worth.
  16. Relieve the boredom of assignments and tasks, where possible. Doing so makes work more meaningful for employees and allows them to be more creative and attain greater job satisfaction. Furthermore, it builds inward security and fosters self-motivation.

Related:

Six Steps to Educate Employees About Delegated Tasks and Assignments

Feedback is the Foundation of Effective Coaching

When Building Trust, by All Means Avoid These Six Behaviors

Motivation Is More Than Money

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2014 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

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Eight Ways Others Evaluate Trust in Leaders

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smallgroup5

As seen in numerous large-scale corporate scandals around the turn of the century, trust or a lack thereof has a dramatic impact on an organization. While an organization can be defined as trusting and empowering, it is the individuals within it who form the basis for these qualities.

The responsibility for fostering and nurturing trust does not lie with the bottom tiers of the organization, but the managers that lead it. Where there is no trust, there is no legitimacy to management.

The starting point is the personal commitment made by individual managers.

Trust and empowerment stem from the individual actions of the manager. However, once initiated, trust and empowerment create a synergy within the organization that has the ability to move it forward to unimaginable heights.

As soon as employees know they can trust the words and actions of their managers, they are motivated. All too often the words sound good, but the accompanying actions do not follow, fostering a sense of mistrust and fear within employees.

Once managers have established trust with their employees, a strong bond is formed that is difficult to break. Unless trust is broken and people feel betrayed, employees will be intensely loyal and cooperate to achieve mutual goals and objectives. This is the strongest principle of management and its essence.

Whether or not a manager is trusted is determined by his or her actions. Anyone can make statements and pronouncements; it is actions by which an individual is judged. Managers must hold to higher standards of personal behavior if they are to foster and nurture trust with their employees, who closely observe every word and action.

Managers are judged by the following criteria:

Promises and Commitments

Corporate managers are placed under an enormous amount of stress and will miss commitments, especially minor ones made in the heat of daily activities. However, they pay close attention to what they say, and do what they promise. If unable to keep their commitment, they immediately inform the other party and make alternative arrangements.

Employees take note of a manager who makes a personal commitment but fails to keep it due to political or internal pressures. If when confronted with this failure they make excuses rather than take responsibility, they will be perceived as hypocritical. Employees with little other alternative may accept the excuse, but will inwardly feel betrayed and no longer trust the manager. The foundation for management has been greatly undermined.

Mistakes

As part of the human condition, everybody makes mistakes and fails. When managers make mistakes, they often impact and affect their organization. Trust is established when managers openly acknowledge their mistakes to their employees and apologize for them.

Managers also allow their employees to experiment, make mistakes and fail without repercussions. They foster an atmosphere where employees can learn from their mistakes and move on. Managers understand that individuals can only grow when they are allowed to learn. The most effective learning experiences stem not from successes but failures and mistakes.

Loyalty

Managers give and demand loyalty from their employees. While they understand that loyalty is earned, they do not tolerate employees who are disloyal to their organization and each other.

The most open demonstration of a manager’s own lack of loyalty can be seen in his or her constant and open criticism of superiors and employees in their absence. While loyalty is not blind, managers must demonstrate, at all times, a deep sense of allegiance to the organization, superiors, associates and employees.

If a manager takes issue with the actions of others, they should openly but privately discuss it with the individual and not criticize them behind his or her back.

Information

Managers as leaders show faith in their employees when they share information with them. In many organizations, the control of information is the basis of personal power. Managers understand that employees must be informed if they are to do their job well and be empowered to make decisions affecting their work. Those who withhold information clearly demonstrate their mistrust of employees.

Involvement

Trust is established with employees when they are included and empowered to make decisions that affect them. Trust is undermined when employees are enabled to make decisions but the decisions are never acted upon and implemented.

Effective managers actively work with their employees and trust their decisions. They work with their employees in implementing their decisions and striving toward the accomplishment of mutual goals and objectives.

Recognition

Trust is fostered and nurtured when managers recognize the individual contributions of their employees and publicly recognize them for their efforts.

When new ideas and strategies work, managers who lead never accept the credit for the idea. They always acknowledge the efforts and contributions of their employees. To do otherwise betrays the trust of those employees.

Communications

Managers build trust within their organization by maintaining open communications with all employees, superiors and associates. They understand that trust is only established when they communicate regardless of the situation and circumstances, and whether or not the information is positive or negative.

Goals and objectives are effectively met when all involved have a complete picture of what is happening around them, including the barriers and obstacles to be overcome.

Respect Confidentiality

Managers understand trust is developed when they respect and honor confidential and sensitive information provided to them by superiors, associates and employees.

They also know they must trust their employees with the confidential and sensitive information they need to do their jobs and make quality decisions. Without this confidence, managers will not be able to create a trusting environment since they are evincing a basic suspicion of their employees.

Excerpt: Building and Nurturing Trust in the Workplace: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $16.95 USD

Related:

You Are Judged by the Actions You Take

Emotional Bonds are a Reflection of a Leader’s Effectiveness

Six Ways to Enhance Your Personal Credibility

 Can You Be Trusted? The Answer May Surprise You

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Five Ways to Establish Trust and Credibility

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smallgroup3

A manager’s entire position must be predicated on trust and credibility. When either are removed from the equation, they are unable to perform. Both are required when dealing with their individual unit or department members.

Some managers feel trust and respect come with the position, when in fact they must be earned through consistently ethical and professional behavior. Inconsistent behavior and an inability to fulfill promises and commitments will develop an atmosphere of mistrust with employees. Words and actions do have meaning and should be used and taken with great care.

Like everything else in life, there are consequences attached to most everything managers say and do. When trust and credibility are removed from the equation, managers will be unable to perform effectively, and they can also see their work undermined by a demotivated and angry team.

Trust and rapport with employees is something that takes time to develop. This is especially true if there have been problems in the past. In these instances, the manager must operate while experiencing open and unconcealed mistrust of his or her words and actions. However, trust and rapport can be established, and in certain cases reestablished, by using the guidelines below.

A manager’s behavior must be consistent. If they don’t want their motivations questioned, they must treat all of their people equally. Developing consistency can be achieved through:

Setting and Uniformly Applying Equitable Standards

Managers must establish consistent performance standards that apply to each individual member of their team. The standards must be applied equally to all without favoritism, and all must be evaluated without bias.

Communicating and Providing Feedback

Managers should be openly and frequently communicating with their employees, sharing insights and expertise and helping them achieve their goals. They must provide frequent feedback regarding their individual performance. Feedback should be based upon facts and free of subjective judgments regarding personal behaviors or attitudes.

Recognizing Performance

Managers should use the standards they have established as a benchmark and openly recognize the performance of the members of their unit or department. A simple word of acknowledgement and appreciation can go an extremely long way towards maintaining enthusiasm and motivation.

Keeping Commitments

When dealing with subordinates, it is easy to let commitments slide. While many managers feel there are no consequences to such actions, if they cannot be counted on to keep their commitments, they cannot be trusted. Their employees’ motivation will suffer, which will then foster a negative and unacceptable atmosphere. Managers creating these problems for themselves can use the following techniques to help overcome them:

  1. Managers should think very carefully about each commitment they intend to make. They should make sure adequate time and resources are available to meet the commitment.
  2. Once a commitment is made, managers should make sure it is completed both as and when promised.
  3. If a commitment cannot be completed when promised, the manager should not wait until the last minute but let their employee know as quickly as possible and revise the schedule accordingly.

Developing an Open Management Style

Developing an open and trusting management style might require a shift in thinking and attitude on the part of many managers. This includes:

Remaining Impartial

Before a manager deals with any employee or situation, they must avoid making rash judgments, eliminate all emotion and gather all pertinent facts.

Trusting Others

Managers must learn to take employees at their word until the facts prove otherwise. A manager who cannot trust either his people or customers will in turn fail to earn their trust.

Listening and Being Open

Managers must be able to listen—not only to gather facts and information, but to hear issues and concerns that may arise with their employees and customers. Listening includes empathizing and showing care and concern about their problems. Managers must be open to new ideas, concepts, feedback and criticism. Trust is earned when employees and customers understand that the manager is available and responsive to them.

Excerpt: Ethics and Integrity: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 17.95 USD

Related:

You Are Judged by the Actions You Take

Emotional Bonds are a Reflection of a Leader’s Effectiveness

Six Ways to Enhance Your Personal Credibility

 Can You Be Trusted? The Answer May Surprise You

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Motivation Is More Than Money

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dynamicsleadership

When the topic of workplace motivation arises, the two primary issues managers focus on are rewards and recognition. This recognition often takes the form of compensation, but can also be manifested as accurate and timely feedback that acknowledges both positive and negative performance.

Many managers have focused their motivational efforts on the financial compensation an employee receives for their efforts. However, many have failed to understand the impact that clearly defined tasks and fast and accurate feedback has on their workforce. Consequently, they fail to ensure that both positive and negative feedback provided to their employees is directly related to their performance.

Aside from financial and budgetary means, it is important for managers to understand that they can increase overall performance through effective motivational techniques that increase employee productivity.

Harvard Business School conducted a number of employee surveys in a variety of industries. The hypothesis was that the employees who were paid the highest salaries and who had the appropriate personality traits, including drive and confidence, would be the best performers.

This hypothesis was soon discovered to be faulty. The actual top performing employees were defined not only by money, but by the following three factors:

Personal Impact

The top performers had the personality to bring about results through their own efforts. Each was able to accomplish their goals through their individual drive.

Fast Feedback

The top performers knew quickly whether or not their efforts worked. The low motivation employees were unsure of their results and unable to gauge their performance.

Accurate Feedback

The top performers received truthful feedback that accurately reflected their personal impact on results. They knew exactly where they stood and received credit when it was due. The low motivation employees were neither recognized for their good work nor penalized for poor performance. The challenge was thus removed from their jobs, as it was of no consequence whether they excelled or failed.

The results of the Harvard Business School study reveal that the nature of the task and feedback ultimately determine the employee’s motivation. The study indicated that these two factors are more important motivators than compensation.

There are several steps a manager can take to apply this information to their workplace:

  • Ensure tasks assigned to employees are clear. The employees should know exactly what is expected of them. These expectations are inherently motivating.
  • Make the connection between the employee’s individual performance and the end result obvious.
  • Teach employees to evaluate their own work. Detail the critical factors of success and provide them with an evaluation form to use. Make it clear that employees are responsible for their own assessment, and that they can perform the evaluation as frequently as they find it necessary.
  • When providing feedback, managers should ask, rather than tell, employees what happened in specific situations, especially if the manager was not an eyewitness. This process is important since customer feedback is often perceived to be inaccurate. Basing feedback on inaccurate information often results in resentment.
  • • Educate employees regarding how to use feedback. If employees fail to understand how feedback relates to their performance, there is no context in which to place it in, and it becomes meaningless.

Excerpt: Motivating Employees: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $17.95 USD

Related:

Five Critical Steps to Maximize Performance

Execution: Six Action Steps

Performance Plans Create Results and Maximizes Performance

Objectives Allow Managers to Focus on Obtaining Results

For Additional Information the Author Recommends the Following Books:

Performance Management: The Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series

Planning to Maximize Performance: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Maximizing Financial Performance: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Improving Workplace Interaction: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

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Motivation Must Be Personal To Be Effective

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womenspeaking

All employees are unique in what motivates them to perform to their capacity and excel in their profession. Most will do what is expected of them, but the motivated employee will go to great lengths to exceed expectations. The key is for managers to discover what truly drives their people. Once their motivation is understood, leaders have the power to get the most out of their employees.

Managers often feel there is no need to motivate their employees as long as the pay is adequate. Yet research has demonstrated that the majority of personal motivation is based upon a host of other significant factors such as achievement, recognition, responsibility, personal growth, and advancement.

Compensation is certainly a motivating factor, but it is often linked to these more prime motivators. A poorly designed compensation plan will cause employees to feel unappreciated and not be reflective of their personal achievements. Consequently, many employees link their compensation to their perception of how they are recognized within the organization.

Managers must understand that it is within their power and control to motivate each member of their team to excel.

Managers who wish to maximize their employees’ performance use specific motivators to create an environment in which individuals feel valued for their contributions to the company, know their efforts are appreciated and supported by the organization, and have the desire to achieve higher levels of personal performance. These results can be achieved by nurturing an atmosphere that includes the following elements:

Interest

Managers must take a genuine personal interest in each employee. Although significant, this means going beyond his or her life outside of work. The main areas in which to devote individual attention are in mentoring and nurturing a personal and professional growth as well as in understanding what motivates them. When managers demonstrate an interest in their employees, they are giving and sharing their time, lives and expertise with their employees.

Confidence

Managers who wish to motivate their employees must develop confidence in their abilities. This means allowing employees to experiment with new ideas and techniques while understanding that, as people grow through their experiences, many lessons are best learned through personal mistakes and failure.

Managers must also have the confidence that their employees can develop realistic and attainable plans and allow them to work those plans without interference or micromanagement. Individuals who know they have the liberty to perform their jobs without fear of retribution if they falter are more motivated and empowered to stretch the limits of their capabilities.

Challenge

Employees must be challenged to stretch their personal and professional limits. This includes personal and professional development in areas of vocational knowledge, skills and expertise.

Pride

Managers must maintain a sense of pride in their team, their company and the products they sell. Employees must continually sell themselves on the value of the company and its products or services. If employees aren’t sold, they will have difficulty convincing others of the company’s worth. Additionally, as people need a spark to overcome daily stress and adversity, managers must build and nurture a passion in their employees to achieve and succeed.

Bonding

Managers must establish a sense of fellowship between the individual members of their workplace, which thereby creates comradery and emotional support. Successfully done, this builds a strong team atmosphere and healthy sense of friendly competition that is beneficial to the organization.

Reward and Recognition

Managers should use fair and consistent standards with which to measure performance and base rewards and recognition. Employees should be evaluated against their own performance, and, for best impact, appropriate recognition should be given immediately.

Appreciation

Beyond tangible rewards and recognition, managers must demonstrate their personal appreciation for the efforts and contributions made by their individual employees. They should also avoid taking the top performers on their team for granted. Because these individuals need little attention or direction, they are often overlooked as managers invest more time with more inexperienced or problematic employees. To stretch their personal abilities, the best of the group also need ongoing recognition, appreciation and encouragement.

Related:

Motivation Is More Than Money

16 Ways to Motivate Employees and to Celebrate Their Successes

Leaders Have Three Motivational Tools Available to Them

Recognition Must Be Given Liberally, Frequently and Publicly

Excerpt: Motivating Employees: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 17.95 USD

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Written by Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D.

February 12, 2013 at 11:41 am

Recognition Must Be Given Liberally, Frequently and Publicly

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Curtis Carlson, founder of Radisson Hotels, T.G.I. Friday’s and Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Curtis Carlson, founder of Radisson Hotels, T.G.I. Friday’s and Carlson Wagonlit Travel

In some companies, under the premise that they will be perceived more meaningful, rewards and recognitions are given so infrequently as to in fact be meaningless. In order to be effective in generating long-term, concrete results, such rewards, recognitions and motivation must be given liberally, frequently and publicly. They should be fun, uplifting and encourage all members of the workplace.

A critical aspect of leadership is the manager’s role as cheerleader. Leaders need to keep their employees motivated and emotionally prepared to do business in a marketplace fraught with intense competition, rejection and failure.

There are both tangible and intangible aspects of motivation. The intangible aspects of encouraging words and pats on the back, although not insignificant, can be quickly forgotten, while the tangible aspects are visible and durable.

Napoleon discovered long ago that men would walk into combat and perform daring feats for a piece of ribbon and scrap of metal. Managers should learn from this lesson: it’s not the value of a reward or recognition, but what that reward stands for. People will move mountains for the right reward.

The late Curtis Carlson, founder of Radisson Hotels, T.G.I. Friday’s, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and a host of other hospitality companies, was a master motivator. During an interview on CNN’s Pinnacle years ago, he discussed the tangible aspects of motivation.

Carlson started his career as an employee for S&H Green Stamps, a company that used stamps as a retail incentive tool. In his capacity as an employee, Carlson achieved a specific sales goal and was awarded an engraved watch. He observed that everywhere he went his wife made him take off his self-described $20 watch so that she could display it to their friends. He took this lesson with him in his rise to the top of corporate America.

The lesson Carlson learned was the tangible value of motivation. He said that one could give an employee a $20 bonus on Friday, and by Monday it was spent and forgotten. But if one gave them a framed certificate or some other tangible form of recognition, it was there as a constant reminder of their accomplishments.

A very visible example of his practice is seen at T.G.I. Friday’s. A tradition in the company is for the employees to sport colorful vests full of motivational pins from all of the restaurants they’ve worked at. Carlson was a skillful practitioner of tangible motivation: he knew the public display of recognition and accomplishment had an enduring effect long after the individual was honored.

Managers can take a page from the Carlson book and create their own tangible motivation program.

As Carlson learned, the action doesn’t have to be expensive, only tangible, frequent, visible and durable.

People love to be recognized and honored. Most have a wall of items at home or in the office to show the world what they’ve achieved and accomplished. They want others to recognize that they have made a difference.

Many managers will use monetary awards or gifts as incentives—some to a great degree, such as Mary Kay Cosmetics, who awards their top employees pink Cadillacs.

As Carlson learned, money or a disposable gift such as food, a car wash or a trip is quickly forgotten. Instead managers should consider ideas like certificates, pins, coffee cups and other items that will be used and remain visible in the workplace as motivational tools. Some organizations have used items such as gold plated spark plugs as symbols of accomplishment.

Another key to tangible motivation is frequency. Carlson learned that to be effective, recognition must be as frequent and public as possible. Tom Peters discussed this concept in his book, Catching Someone Doing Something Right.

Too often, managers only identify the negative aspects of their employees’ performance. Peters talks about turning this concept around by looking for and immediately recognizing the positives.

The final aspect of motivation is public recognition, which builds self-confidence and self-esteem while fostering team spirit and a strong sense of comradery.

There are many sides and aspects to motivation, but the fun and frivolous aspects of public and tangible motivation do work. Managers will be amazed at the amount of effort their employees will expend to earn a piece of paper or inexpensive knick-knack.

Related:

Motivation Is More Than Money

16 Ways to Motivate Employees and to Celebrate Their Successes

When Motivating Employees, Expectations Are Everything

Excerpt: Motivating Employees (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 17.95 USD

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Eight Actions Determine If You Can Be Trusted

with 2 comments

peoplemeeting

As seen in numerous large-scale corporate scandals around the turn of the century, trust or a lack thereof has a dramatic impact on an organization. While an organization can be defined as trusting and empowering, it is the individuals within it who form the basis for these qualities.

The responsibility for fostering and nurturing trust does not lie with the bottom tiers of the organization, but the managers that lead it. Where there is no trust, there is no legitimacy to management. The starting point is the personal commitment made by individual managers.

Trust and empowerment stem from the individual actions of the manager. However, once initiated, trust and empowerment create a synergy within the organization that has the ability to move it forward to unimaginable heights.

As soon as employees know they can trust the words and actions of their managers, they are motivated. All too often the words sound good, but the accompanying actions do not follow, fostering a sense of mistrust and fear within employees.

Once managers have established trust with their employees, a strong bond is formed that is difficult to break. Unless trust is broken and people feel betrayed, employees will be intensely loyal and cooperate to achieve mutual goals and objectives. This is the strongest principle of management and its essence.

Whether or not a manager is trusted is determined by his or her actions. Anyone can make statements and pronouncements; it is actions by which an individual is judged. Managers must hold to higher standards of personal behavior if they are to foster and nurture trust with their employees, who closely observe every word and action.

Managers are judged by the following criteria:

Promises and Commitments

Corporate managers are placed under an enormous amount of stress and will miss commitments, especially minor ones made in the heat of daily activities. However, they pay close attention to what they say, and do what they promise. If unable to keep their commitment, they immediately inform the other party and make alternative arrangements.

Employees take note of a manager who makes a personal commitment but fails to keep it due to political or internal pressures. If when confronted with this failure they make excuses rather than take responsibility, they will be perceived as hypocritical. Employees with little other alternative may accept the excuse, but will inwardly feel betrayed and no longer trust the manager. The foundation for management has been greatly undermined.

Mistakes

As part of the human condition, everybody makes mistakes and fails. When managers make mistakes, they often impact and affect their organization. Trust is established when managers openly acknowledge their mistakes to their employees and apologize for them.

Managers also allow their employees to experiment, make mistakes and fail without repercussions. They foster an atmosphere where employees can learn from their mistakes and move on. Managers understand that individuals can only grow when they are allowed to learn. The most effective learning experiences stem not from successes but failures and mistakes.

Loyalty

Managers give and demand loyalty from their employees. While they understand that loyalty is earned, they do not tolerate employees who are disloyal to their organization and each other.

The most open demonstration of a manager’s own lack of loyalty can be seen in his or her constant and open criticism of superiors and employees in their absence. While loyalty is not blind, managers must demonstrate, at all times, a deep sense of allegiance to the organization, superiors, associates and employees.

If a manager takes issue with the actions of others, they should openly but privately discuss it with the individual and not criticize them behind his or her back.

Information

Managers as leaders show faith in their employees when they share information with them. In many organizations, the control of information is the basis of personal power.

Managers understand that employees must be informed if they are to do their job well and be empowered to make decisions affecting their work. Those who withhold information clearly demonstrate their mistrust of employees.

Involvement

Trust is established with employees when they are included and empowered to make decisions that affect them. Trust is undermined when employees are enabled to make decisions but the decisions are never acted upon and implemented.

Effective managers actively work with their employees and trust their decisions. They work with their employees in implementing their decisions and striving toward the accomplishment of mutual goals and objectives.

Recognition

Trust is fostered and nurtured when managers recognize the individual contributions of their employees and publicly recognize them for their efforts.

When new ideas and strategies work, managers who lead never accept the credit for the idea. They always acknowledge the efforts and contributions of their employees. To do otherwise betrays the trust of those employees.

Communications

Managers build trust within their organization by maintaining open communications with all employees, superiors and associates. They understand that trust is only established when they communicate regardless of the situation and circumstances, and whether or not the information is positive or negative.

Goals and objectives are effectively met when all involved have a complete picture of what is happening around them, including the barriers and obstacles to be overcome.

Respect Confidentiality

Managers understand trust is developed when they respect and honor confidential and sensitive information provided to them by superiors, associates and employees.

They also know they must trust their employees with the confidential and sensitive information they need to do their jobs and make quality decisions. Without this confidence, managers will not be able to create a trusting environment since they are evincing a basic suspicion of their employees.

Related:

  1. Legitimacy: The Sole Basis of Leadership
  2. How Credible Are You as a Leader?
  3. You Are Judged by the Actions You Take

Excerpt: Building and Nurturing Trust in the Workplace: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011)

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
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Copyright © 2012 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

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