The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. William James
I spent some time last week with a group of pretty tough leaders in a pretty gritty, tough business. “Soft” or “emotional” would not have been adjectives that related to these guys in any noticeable way. They are business owners in a scrappy business, many of whom are second or third generation entrepreneurs.
When we spoke about what motivated them in their business, they uniformly said “profit!” Yet, when I asked them to think of a time or event that they really treasured in running their organizations, most of them related a story where they were appreciated. They weren’t talking about statements made because they were the boss. They were thinking of times when a person recognized their effort on behalf of that person, and made a point to let them know they appreciated it.
It’s interesting that we are always devising 1001 methods to motivate our people. We come up with clever competitions, or offer prize or bonus programs or any number of other external recognitions. These are pretty easy to conceive and at least make US feel like we’re doing something for our employees. Yet, perhaps, all it takes is a thoughtful and authentic statement of appreciation for what the person is doing. That approach is not exactly free since you have to spend some time thinking about it and delivering your message. But in the end, wouldn’t it be worth a shot? When’s the last time you simply told one of your people that you appreciated them? Try it and let me know how it worked.
By the way, thank YOU for reading and recommending Leadership Matters Now. We're going to take the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving, but back to our regular schedule next week!