One topic that comes up fairly regularly when my clients want to improve employee engagement and loyalty. One action that can easily show their appreciation is to praise their staff. Remember: our emotions ‘arrive’ before our thoughts. How we feel dictate how we act.
These executives are surprised when I tell them that they do indeed need to tell their people that they were performing well and be specific on what they were doing.
“You mean to tell me that I have to tell them they are doing a good job when they are doing the job that I am paying them for?” they usually ask incredulously.
This reminded me of one of the songs in Fiddler on the Roof, “Do You Love Me?” http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/fiddlerontheroof/doyouloveme.htm
Tevye asks his wife, Golde, if she loves him. Her response is:
Golde: Do I love you? /For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes / Cooked your meals, cleaned your house /Given you children, milked the cow /After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now? / I’m your wife
Tevye: I know… But do you love me?
Golde: Do I love him? /For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him /Fought him, starved with him /Twenty-five years my bed is his /If that’s not love, what is?
Tevye: Then you love me?
Golde: I suppose I do
Tevye: And I suppose I love you too
Both: It doesn’t change a thing/ But even so /After twenty-five years /It’s nice to know
So how does this relate to you? You may think people know how critical they are to the team, to the project, to the success of the company, to you personally and that they don’t need to be told. The truth is everyone needs to be told that they have value and what that value is.
Yes, emotionally intelligent leaders need to tell those people that report to them [when it is appropriate] that they are doing a job well. Honest positive specific feedback never hurts!