Encouragement in Small Doses
The best managers do not wait until the annual performance review to encourage their employees and praise superior effort. They dole out encouragement and recognition in small doses throughout the year to better inspire their team. Done proportionately, authentically, and correctly, this continuous approach can boost both individual performance and team productivity.
What Does This Look Like in Practice
The key for managers is to stay close to their teams so they can observe and take advantage of impromptu opportunities to give positive feedback. These opportunities can occur in team meetings, chats in the break room, a phone call, or a personal email. Remember what it was like to be an individual contributor or one of many members on a team? Then you can appreciate how much a well-timed thank you or an encouraging word can mean.
Some Suggestions on How to Encourage Informally
- How to Encourage More Ideas
When an employee comes up with an innovative idea, be specific in your acknowledgment. Something like, “I really appreciated the idea you proposed in the meeting this morning. I’d like to discuss this with you in more depth because it could really help in our handling of a certain client prospect.”
The employee will be pleased that their idea has real application, and they will be more ready and willing to offer such thoughts next time. Of course, the opposite is also true. If new ideas are dismissed, people will become less likely to contribute over time.
- How to Encourage Commitment
When you are passing out compliments, do not forget to salute the supportive team player. It is important to recognize those who play behind-the-scenes roles that don’t put them center stage but without whom the stars couldn’t perform. Depending on what they would value the most, praise them privately or in front of the team.
- How to Encourage Progress
If you are trying to shape a culture that values continuous learning, pay tribute to team members who have made real progress in a particular area. If they were working toward leading more effective meetings for example, notice their improvement in setting up the agenda and sticking to the timeline.
- How to Encourage Cooperation
Teams depend upon collaboration to be effective. To reinforce cooperative behavior, point out the kind of teamwork you want to foster. When you see two team members partner up on a project, congratulate them for working well together.
- How to Encourage Accomplishments
The “win” doesn’t need to be major. It can be signing up a new client or solving a sticky customer situation. As you recognize a recent accomplishment, you inspire others to reach higher
The Bottom Line
Managers can better inspire their team members and spur them on to better work and higher levels of engagement by simply encouraging them with positive feedback offered throughout the year.
To learn more about how every manager can better inspire their team, download the Top 10 Most Powerful Ways to Boost Employee Engagement