Feedback, Appreciation, Mingle
Feedback is a response to our projects and issues. If I say, that was a good report, especially that section on strategy for the next decade, that is positive feedback. If I say the report is a little short on statistics, that is negative feedback. All leaders give feedback. Great leaders give specific, and frequent feedback. Great leaders also give a lot of positive feedback. For every piece of negative feedback, they give many more positive statements. This earns them credit and respect. Wouldn't you respect what I said if you knew that I was far more likely to catch you doing something well than if it felt like I always caught you doing something wrong?
The best leaders give lots of feedback and most of it is positive. And when the time comes to give negative feedback, they deliver it with clarity, specificity and quickly. And they remember that feedback is about issues, not personalities as much. You can rarely change a personality. But you can change their habits. Feedback turns them in the direction of healthy habits. And it will even out the kinks in their personality if it's done well.
Appreciation is more than feedback, it's personal. When you appreciate the person for who they are, you go beyond what they do. You genuinely like them. And you know that the person behind all those projects is valuable to you and your organization. A gift, a note, an award, a comment, a thank you; these are all personal and appreciative. Great leaders use appreciation like salt and pepper. They know just the right amount to sprinkle on so that the food is enhanced but not smothered. And they know the persona of the appreciated one, how much appreciation they can handle at one time. Some of us don't take too many compliments too well. We wonder if someone is flattering us for some other reason or motive. Give consistent and moderate amounts of appreciation and you will get past that fear of flattery.
Then mingle with your workers, coworkers, and bosses as well. Let them know that you are interested in their lives and their family as well. Listen to them when they tell you stories about their family and friends. Take notes even. Keep tabs on their kids and grandkids, their pets even. This is the key to the highest level of motivation in an organization. When the boss or a supervisor knows a great deal about me because they are genuinely interested in my success and care about me, it is inspiring and invigorating.
Give lots of feedback, mostly positive. Appreciate others, raise their value. And get to know them, really know them. Do these three, and your team will be the best.