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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reinforcing the Importance of Using Positive Reinforcement to Motivate Others

Using Positive Reinforcement to Motivate Others

In these uncertain economic times, it is easy for employees to become negative. To make sure employees do not become negative, all managers must help ensure their employees are engaged.
Engaged employees are more likely to be productive and less likely to leave as the economy continues to improve. One of the most overlooked and simple ways to engage employees is by expressing honest, sincere appreciation for their efforts. By expressing appreciation for the positive other people contribute, you will benefit as much as they will. The way you treat others is a direct reflection of the way you think about them. Train your brain in a positive direction, and you will find it increasingly easy to work cooperatively with others - even if they are negative.

Acknowledging other's strengths can also go a long way towards helping you get along with difficult people. Each individual's social effectiveness is rooted in his or her self-concept. When he or she is critical, hostile, or unkind, it is almost always because his or her self-concept is threatened. As a manager, you are responsible for fostering positive environments. This environment can require managers to work with employees and challenge them to change their attitude. So next time you give a compliment, instead of just saying "good job," offer a sincere strength comment that has the following attributes.
  • Identifies a trait that you respect, admire, or appreciate in the individual.
  • Expresses your admiration for the trait.
  • Supports your opinion about the trait with specific evidence - something you have observed the person doing.
By making strength comments, you can build or alter a person's self-concept for the positive. Your work environment will be filled with most positive and engaged employees.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Uncertain Times, Provide Steady Leadership

Leadership is challenging even during good times, but when business takes a downturn it can become especially difficult. Here’s some advice for keeping morale healthy even when the business environment is looking sick:

Share some good news. Tell employees the honest truth about what’s happening, but be on the lookout for any signs of hope you can share—an unexpected sale to a big customer or a money-saving idea. A little bit of positive news can have a big impact when everything else seems dark.

Coach more. Spend more time with your employees on improving their skills and performance. Concentrate on what they do well so they don’t view your attention as “punishment.” Emphasize how coaching and training benefits them, not just your organization.

Look for something new. Don’t keep repeating the same old strategies, no matter how well they worked in the past. Embracing new venues like Twitter and FourSquare may lead to new sources of revenue and growth, and learning them will give your employees something to distract them from their worries.

Renew your focus on customers. Stop obsessing about your own problems, and look outside your company for ideas and opportunities. Talk to customers about their problems, and you may find new business opportunities you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Big Ideas for the 21st Century Leader

Creating a New Corporate Value Proposition
·   Rather than trying to get more out of people, organizations are better served by investing more in them and meeting their multidimensional needs in order to fuel greater engagement and more sustainable high performance.

·   It’s not how much time we invest into our work that determines our productivity but rather the value we produce during the hours we work.

·   We must learn to embrace opposites. By celebrating one set of qualities and undervaluing another—courage or caution, confidence or humility, tenacity or flexibility—we lose access to essential dimensions of ourselves and others.

·   Because all virtues are interconnected, any strength overused ultimately becomes a liability. Honesty without compassion, for example, is cruelty. We create the highest value not by focusing solely on our strengths or ignoring our weaknesses but by being attentive to both.

·   The mind-set shift leaders need to make is from focusing too much on competency, the skills necessary for a given job and too little on capacity, the fuel people need in their tanks to bring their skills fully to life.

·   The best leaders strike a balance between challenging their people to exceed themselves and regularly recognizing and rewarding their accomplishments.

·   Leaders who default to negative emotions to motivate others may get short-term performance they’re seeking, but the costs over time are high.

·   Because the impact of “bad” is stronger than “good,” the first rule for an effective leader is the same as it is for doctors: above else do no harm. That means avoiding devaluing emotions such as anger, intimidation, disparagement, and shame.

·   Leaders who avoid conflict often cause even more harm than those who are more direct. The key for leaders is to balance honesty and appreciation, always keeping in mind the value of the other person, even when being critical of a particular behavior.

·   The best evidence of an organization’s values and purpose is to consider the behavior of its leaders. Transactional leaders focus narrowly on the “what”—how to get things done. Transformational and servant leaders are more focused on the purpose of their action and on meeting the needs of their employees.

·   Most employees are less inspired by a leader’s personal charisma than by a compelling purpose to rally around everyday. The most admired and effective leaders are those with the most inspiring vision and the greatest humility about themselves.