Sunday, November 1, 2009

It Takes More Muscles to Frown...


Thanks to all for the positive feedback and the food for thought!  They are much appreciated!  It seems that I have struggled with "user error" and the interesting continuous loop I wanted you all to see has gone missing.  It still can be found on the Towers and Perrin white paper on Turbocharging Employee Engagement that was published in September, 2009.

This next post discusses what happens when we don't foster and encourage positive work environments and/or when we contribute to environments where people are made to feel like they or their contributions are not valued.  In other words, we have all seen someone pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat only to have his/her manager complain that the bunny wasn't cute enough, the hat's brim wasn't wide enough or the magician wasn't wearing a cape.

It's hard to get the wind taken out of your sails but it happens all the time and we have all been witness to it.  We could spend hours discussing what would be worse: a) sin of omission or unknowingly being a "buzzkill"; or b) sin of commission or knowingly raining on your direct report's or peer's parade because someone's just done the same to you.  Frankly, you could go either way but the net result is the same: that person who has gone the extra mile willingly and often selflessly is left with the same feeling that a good deed never goes unpunished.  

I was recently told of a work situation where consistently high performers were seeing their mid year and annual review scores diminish over time.  It was puzzling to them - how was it that their efforts and ingenuity to get things done (much like MacGyver) were less and less appreciated or valued over time?  It should come as no surprise that these individuals are less motivated and resentful of the positions in which they are in.  To keep their jobs, especially in a down economy, they have to comply with outrageous requests but at the same time they know their work will not be acknowledged.

On the last page of the same Turbocharging study by Towers Perrin, they reference other research that covers just a phenomenon.  When managers fail to celebrate success or diminish "pulling the rabbit out of the hat", they have a very serious negative impact on employees' emotions and sense of security with unsurprising results: absenteeism, turnover, etc.  It also showed that in troubled economies, especially this brutal one, managers need to turn up the dial on formal employee engagement/recognition and the heartfelt "thank you" that I mentioned in my previous posts. When employees get the acknowledgement of a job well done even if just in passing, they respect their managers more, have more stake in the success of the business and will work harder and or go out of their way to be a winner.

Which takes me back to the title of this post...  It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.  Keep that in mind when a colleague or a direct report has just finished up some important work.  That simple "thank you" that you remember to say goes further than you think.

The next post will discuss how utilizing "thank you" and "I'm sorry" help to keep customers happy.  In the meantime, thank you for your continued feedback and posting ideas.  I appreciate it!

Until Next Time,


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