February is “love” season. You know, Valentines Day and all. In terms of the workplace, it kind of begs the question, “Can we show love at work?” In this day and age of harassment suits and political correctness, many managers shy away from showing love for their employees. I’m here to suggest that a little love will go a long way and I’ll share actions you can take to show “love” to employees without getting yourself in hot water.
We all come to the workplace with a basic human need to be acknowledged and recognized as an individual—as someone who brings value. You can show love by pointing out that value to your employees. I’m not talking hugs and kisses. I’m not suggesting poetry and chocolates. I’m just suggesting some good old-fashioned acknowledgement.
Patrick Lencioni, in his book, “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job” talks about “anonymity.” He says that every employee, from the laborer to the executive, benefits from someone knowing who he or she really is—as a human being. And when no one really knows us we become anonymous at work and then the job becomes miserable.
Overcoming anonymity means that the boss knows more than just the fact that an employee is a father of two. It means the boss knows that the employee’s son is a hockey nut and that the employee’s daughter got a 96% on her spelling test. It’s digging a little deeper to understand what makes your employee tick.
If this is a challenge for you, try kick starting your conversations with these statements and then follow with a conversation that allows you to learn more about the employee:
“I really appreciate the way you. . . (are always positive when our customers call in with complains OR are meticulous with the monthly reports).”
“I’m happy you are on our team because. . . (you bring a unique perspective that allows us to see our product from the eyes of the customer OR you help bring people together by focusing on the positive).”
“If it weren’t for you. . . (our database would be a mess OR we wouldn’t have increased our sales by 14% this year).”
“You’re an important part of our office because. . . (without you the staff would not have the support they need to respond to client calls OR you bring new ideas that have lead us to develop new services).”
As a manager you have opportunities to show love every day. Here are a few ideas for showing love to those with whom you work:
- Each day, tell one team member that you appreciate them for ________. Fill in the blank with something specific they’ve done today that was valuable to you or the organization.
- During staff meetings, spend a few minutes acknowledging the successes the group has achieve recently. Don’t forget to name the people who were responsible.
- Smile. Even if it’s not in your nature, make a conscious effort to look someone in the eye and just smile. Either they’ll appreciate your warmth or wonder what you are up to!
- Send an email to your boss praising a teammate. In my workshops on performance management, I’m often told by managers that the best documentation they get are the freebies that come from others—those emails and notes that say “this employee did a great job!”
I LOVE to hear from you! How are you showing love to your employees these days?