By: Brian Tracy
Imagine that every person in your company is wearing a sign around his or her neck all day long that says “Make me feel important.”
In every interaction with every person you work with, you should respond to this basic human request. You should always be looking for ways to make people feel important and valuable as parts of your team.
The Four A’s of Employee Motivation There are four key behaviors you can practice every day to raise people’s self-esteem and make them feel more important and valuable. They all begin with the letter A.
The first A stands for appreciation. Take every opportunity to thank each person for everything that she does, small or large, in carrying out their duties. Every time you say “thank you” to a person, her self-worth goes up. She feels better and more valuable. And she becomes even more motivated to do more of the things for which she received appreciation in the first place. A boss with an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the most effective leaders in any organization.
The second A stands for approval. Give praise and approval on every occasion, for every accomplishment of whatever size. Give praise for every good effort. Give praise for every good suggestion or idea. Especially, praise people when they do something that goes above and beyond the call of duty.
Praise immediately, right after the event. Praise specifically. Praise regularly. Whenever you praise another person, she experiences it physically and emotionally. Her confidence grows and she feels happier about herself and her job. The good news is that whatever you praise gets repeated. People will do more and more of those things that are endorsed by people whose opinions they value.
The third A stands for admiration. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Everybody likes a compliment.” Regularly compliment people on their personal traits and qualities, such as punctuality and persistence. Compliment them on their possessions, such as their clothes, their cars, and their accessories. Compliment them on their achievements, both at work and in their private lives.
Every time you express admiration to another person, especially in front of others, you raise that person’s self-esteem. You cause her to like herself more and make her feel better and more committed to you and the company.
The final A, perhaps the most important of all, is the behavior of attention. Paying attention means that you listen to your staff when they want to talk to you. Listen patiently. Listen attentively. Listen quietly. Listen calmly. Listen thoughtfully. Listen without interrupting.
Whenever a person is attentively listened to by someone she respects, her self-respect increases. She feels more important and valuable. She feels more committed to both the person and the job. She feels better about herself and does her job better.
Remember, you do not have to act on the ideas or suggestions of people when they talk to you. You just have to listen carefully, nod, smile, and thank them for their input. People get tremendous satisfaction from having an opportunity to express themselves honestly to their bosses. Your job is just to listen.
Generating Participatory Management
In addition to the four As, one of the most valuable contributions you can make to your organization is to create an environment where people enjoy working and feel motivated to perform at higher and higher levels. Participatory management is one of the most effective tools you can use for achieving this goal.
There is no better way to build a powerful, positive team of highly motivated people than by bringing them together on a regular basis to talk, discuss, argue, work out problems, make plans, and generally share information, ideas and experiences. This is the key to building peak performance teams and company spirit.
You should hold a general staff meeting at least once each week with all the people who report directly to you. At this meeting, every person should be listed on the agenda as an agenda item. Every person should be encouraged to give a brief report on what he or she is doing, how it is working, what suggestions he or she has, and what assistance or resources he or she might require. Everyone discusses the work and shares with the others any problems or frustrations they might be experiencing. The manager takes notes and, wherever possible, takes action on the decisions made by the group.
You will be absolutely amazed at how quickly these regular meetings build stronger bonds of friendship and cooperation among your staff. All kinds of problems are ironed out quickly. People begin to share their own personal experiences. And best of all, they begin to laugh together and see themselves as important parts of a team and of the company as a whole.
The more you involve your staff to drive employee motivation at every level and in every decision, the more motivated and enthusiastic they will become to carry out the decisions and achieve the goals that you agree upon. Participatory management is one of the fastest acting and most successful management techniques you can use to build a high-performance team.
Brian Tracy was born in eastern Canada in 1944 and grew up in California. After dropping out of high school, he traveled and worked his way around the world, eventually visiting eighty countries on six continents. His extensive personal studies in business, sales, management, marketing, and economics enabled him to become the head of a $265 million company before he turned his attention to consulting, training, and personal development. He is now the president of three companies with operations worldwide. He is married, has four children, and lives in San Diego, California.