Business owners and managers focused on moving their companies to ever higher levels of efficiency, effectiveness, profitability and success are always on the lookout for ways to improve their business model. To achieve this objective requires a discerning awareness regarding what is — and isn’t — working in daily operations.
Beware of a potential trap, however. If a leader’s sole focus is on what’s “wrong” in the business model, they’ll likely fail to see all that’s actually being achieved and accomplished, the effort put forth by team members and how far the business has progressed over time. These same leaders will squash the morale of their team members with an abundance of criticism and lack of praise.
While this approach might lead to improvements to the business model and short-term results that are desired, over time it will damage other vital aspects of the business model. Team members will become less excited about being a part of and furthering the company’s mission, and top performers will likely move on.
In turn, this will have negative effects on the efficiency and effectiveness that’s being sought and the upside potential of the business itself.
On the other hand, when leaders offer well-deserved praise and recognition to their team members while also working to continually enhance how the company operates, a solid culture is built and the benefits ripple throughout the business.
Why? Because 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 when you receive an award or are honored for your own hard work.
Most people thrive on praise and enjoy some form of recognition. When people are praised for a job well done, they feel good, valued and inspired to keep up the good work. They light up and get excited, which is 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 whatever it is they’re doing. In other words, they’re motivated in a positive way to learn, grow and become more.
On the other side of the coin, 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 devastating this experience can be. It’s only compounded as this behavior is repeated over time. This is called negative conditioning and commonly leads to diminished self-confidence, negative self-perception, resentment and lack of drive or determination.
The desire to feel good about ourselves and the efforts we put forth is a very real human need. As a leader, it’s wise to get a firm hold on this understanding and to make changes in your perspective so you will offer the praise and recognition your team members appreciate and need to continue advancing. Positive reinforcement constitutes a much 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 powerful ways. This in turn, allows leaders to build the empowered teams that produce the very success they’re looking to achieve.
In your unending pursuit of success and a finely tuned business, don’t forget to offer up the well-deserved praise and earned recognition your team members need to learn, grow and become top performers.
When the team members in any business are supported in constructive ways for a job well-done as well as those areas in which they’re in the process of improvement, they’ll perform at higher levels simply because they feel valued and encouraged in their efforts to be their best.
When you give others what they want, they’re more likely to give you what you want and everyone is happier.