Every day I come across something that someone does well. It may be something as small as keeping my water glass full at a restaurant or a teacher going out of their way to help my child understand a difficult concept. I have been trying to remember to thank people for the good things they do. I was reminded how important this is after reading a blog post by Michael Smith on not waiting for a eulogy to say nice things.
I am often too quick to criticize and slow to praise, when it should be the reverse. As a manager of a team at work, this has rested heavily on my mind lately. My responsibility is to make sure everyone is operating at peak effectiveness and all the blocks to their success are removed. Sometimes these blocks can be simply not feeling appreciated or understood.
I am a big believer in the Manager Tools method of giving feedback. It is the Manager Tools’ team belief (and mine as well) one of the biggest reasons people are unhappy in their work is due to not get enough feedback, negative AND positive. We all just want to know how we are doing. The challenge for managers is to make sure everyone hears almost daily on the good things they do or how to correct the little things needing improvement.
Feedback doesn’t have to be difficult or grandiose. A couple simple sentences is all it takes. Describe the behavior and its impact. That’s all. “When you make sure the paper gets to my front porch instead of the front walk, I find it easier to get it and enjoy reading the news at breakfast instead of later in the day, if at all. Keep it up! Thank you.” When I received this simple praise as a paperboy years ago, I made sure the paper was where my customer could get it without having to walk more than a couple steps out the front door.
Taking a few seconds to compliment someone for good work is so easy. Don’t take it for granted they will always be there another time. A few simple words can change a whole day. Too often, we are isolated in our own worlds and wonder if anyone notices at all. A few encouraging words can change more than we could ever imagine.
We need to take time to thank people for the good job they do. In the Disney movie, “Bambi”, Thumper’s mother reminds him “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” The reverse is true as well. If you can say something nice, say it immediately. See what happens.