I just finished an article in USA Today about how people are “app-y” this season because many are using their mobile devices to store their gift wish lists. That got me thinking: If employees in today’s global organizations were to develop their collective “wish list” what would be on it?
- Less BS and more humanity – Enough beating-around-the-bush or worse yet “spinning” of messages. Employees want to know what’s happening and why in a direct way. Tell me what you know when you know it. And chances are, you’re waiting too long after getting key information to communicate it.
- Understanding of your expectations – People rise to the expectations set for them. Many problems in business are caused by a lack of understanding of expectations or a misunderstanding of what’s needed and expected
- More listening (to me) – Stop talking so much. Ask for input and feedback. What I help create I am more likely to support. Stop the monologues and talking at me, let’s have real, two-way conversations.
- Take action on employee suggestions – The action might be to loop back with the employee to share appreciation for their thoughts, and help them understand why you’re not implementing their suggestion for an alternate approach. The action is closing the feedback loop, which can be as worthwhile as implementing a suggestion an employee has.
- Show me you care (in a genuine way) – Find out what’s important to me, and please remember critical milestones that are important to me
- Empathize with me – Pause and imagine how I’m feeling. Show you hear me, and validate my feelings. The payoff is an employee who knows you care; at the same time, you gather information that’s useful to motivate that employee
- Recognize and appreciate me – Say “thank you” for a job well done. Reinforce very specifically the behaviors you want to continue to see. At a two-way communication training recently, a woman asked whether she needed to reward and recognize someone on her team for “just doing their job.” Absolutely. Jobs don’t inspire and motivate people; leaders do
So that’s my short list.
Best of all, all these “gifts” on the wish list are free. No coupons required. You don’t need to fight the crowds. All that’s needed might be a little training or coaching to help you improve your leadership impact. And that could be the best gift you give yourself for 2011.
Which of these skills do you need to focus on in the New Year?
- David Grossman