Business leaders focused on moving their companies to ever higher levels of efficiency, effectiveness, profitability and success constantly look for ways to improve their business models. This requires an awareness of what is — and isn’t — working in daily operations.
There’s a potential pitfall if leaders fixate on what’s wrong at the expense of what’s right. While this approach might create some improvements and short–term results, over time it will damage other vital aspects of the business. Given their singular focus and accompanying astigmatism, these leaders will likely fail to see all that’s accomplished, the solid effort put forth by team members and how far the business has actually progressed.
These same leaders will squash the morale of their team members with a lack of praise and abundance of criticism. Team members will grow less excited about being a part of and furthering the company mission. Top performers will likely move on. This will reduce efficiency, effectiveness and the very profitability and success that were sought in the first place.
Conversely, when business leaders offer well-deserved praise and recognition to team members while also working to continually enhance how their companies operate, a solid culture is built and benefits ripple through the business.
Why? When people feel good — even great — about the positive steps they’re making and the work they’re doing, they’re encouraged to stay the course. Just consider how great it feels and how motivating it is when you receive praise and recognition for your hard work.
Most people thrive on praise and enjoy recognition. When people are praised for a job well done, they feel valued. They’re inspired to keep up the good work. They light up and become excited. It’s apparent in their body language. When this happens repeatedly, they grow more self-confident, take on challenges with greater initiative and passion and become more adept at what they’re doing. In other words, they’re motivated in a positive way to learn, grow and become more.
When people truly give their best, but are met with only criticism in the form of what they did wrong and what they should have done better, they feel defeated, inadequate and undervalued. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a situation like this, you know how unpleasant the experience can be.
Over time, this negative conditioning leads to diminished self-confidence, negative self-perception, resentment, disengagement, lower performance and turnover.
The desire to feel good about ourselves and the efforts we put forth is a real human need. Good leaders understand this and change their perspectives and behaviors to consistently offer the praise and recognition team members appreciate and require to continue advancing. Positive reinforcement constitutes a far more effective leadership strategy than negative conditioning.
As I coach leaders how to lead from a position of composure and with a balanced perspective, they work with their teams in new, dynamic and more effective ways. This allows them to build empowered teams that produce the very results they want to achieve.
When team members in any business are supported in constructive ways — both for jobs well-done as well as those areas in which they’re in the process of improvement — they perform at higher levels simply because they feel valued and encouraged to be their best. When you give others what they want, they’re more likely to give you what you want. Everyone is happier.
In your unending pursuit of a finely tuned business and success, don’t forget to consistently provide the well-deserved praise and recognition your team members need to learn, grow and become top performers.