I remember once I was walking around the office (Read : MBWA) , I saw a person sitting on her desk with a clearly despondent face. She was a very good and efficient worker and had a cheerful countenance. I asked her "Hey ! What's wrong ?" . My simple prodding seemed to open a floodgate of tears.
She said "I have worked so hard for the last one year, I think I have made some difference to my department and my organization... but today, during the appraisal, I was told that whatever I had done was anyways expected from me.... but was was reminded several times about the one slip which I had made .... "
An autocratic boss always criticises, never forgets negative performance and takes good performance for granted. It might have worked some decades earlier, but nowadays, leaders have to re- inforce the good things instead of harping on their inefficiency.
Human beings crave recognition.
Money is a great motivator, but middle managers usually do not have much say in changing company policies and monetary aspects, but they do have the power for the real BIG and the BEST motivator - Recognition .
So, how can the people be motivated ? Yes, it certainly is a tough job, as each individual is different and their keys to motivation also differ. I am sharing some of the things that have worked for me :
- Put it in writing : Just like you should always criticize in private, you should always praise in public. Verbal appreciation is great , but writing it is even more effective. And always write immediately. Appreciation loses its sheen if it is given late. Appreciation emails work wonders. And emails can be copied to relevant and appropriate persons. Emails do not need money neither consumes too much time.
- Awarding an object : In one of my organization, I had started a ritual of awarding a small figurine - a karate kid in a karate pose. Whenever a team member did something extraordinary in terms of performance, quality, teamwork or taking initiative, I awarded this figurine to them in my weekly team meeting. And how they loved it ! They proudly displayed it on their desks. Everybody craved to have it . I was moved when I met one person a few years back who told me "Ananya, I still have the Karate kid on my desk... It inspires me to keep on doing well ...!"
- Thank You Notes : Designate a day in a year where "Thank you " notes will be exchanged. I did it every year on the Thanksgiving week. Create a small template for writing the note and specially the reason why they were thanking and let the team exchange it with each other. It is important tom write the reason for the praise in the praise itself. This concept worked very well in global and virtual teams. The team in India were thrilled to receive handwritten Thank-You notes from the UK and the US office and the same reaction was there in the US and the UK office when they received the notes from India. This helped not only in recognition but also in team bonding.
- Immortalize their names : If you have a big office with several conference and meeting rooms, it is a good idea to name the rooms by the Best Performer of the Year. For Example, there was a "Ananya Meeting Room" and a "Kevin Conference room" in one of my organization. This is a really big motivator and the employees remember it forever. Whenever I visit that organization , I always find some plea to go to the Ananya Conference Room and believe me , it still fills my heart with joy and pride. And even if the person leaves the organization, they become their permanent ambassador !
There are several others .... but more in some later blog ...
Have you noticed, none of the above costs money but they really motivate the employee....
" A person's name is to that person , the sweetest and the most important sound in any language "- Dale Carnegie.
Would you like to implement some in your workplace ? Let me know which one you like the most or if you have any other programs which have worked for you ....