What are some specific steps to accomplish a sense of fulfillment or satisfaction that will lead to improved bottom-line results? And, more to the point, how does a boss encourage his or her team to overcome what initially seems like a paradox—assuring good output while at the same time maintaining personal meaning and satisfaction on everyone’s part? If you’re responsible for a team and you want to accomplish this, here are some recommendations:
* Make sure all team members under you get the sense of how you appreciate their work. One way is by communicating a sense of the big picture. Without regular feedback as to its place in the larger scheme, work could begin to take on a sense of drudgery.
* Remember to treat each of your team members with the courtesy of asking about his or her family. Nothing else with so little effort will go as far to make them feel part of the organization. They’ll go from feeling like numbers to feeling recognized as the human beings they are. At the same time, keep your antennae up for the possibility that some people like to keep their business and personal lives separate. Don’t paint all individuals with the same broad strokes.
* Try to find positive incidents to compliment your staff members rather that limiting your feedback to correct mistakes. More than anything else, research in psychology has taught us that rewarding good behavior is much more effective than punishing mistakes.
* Even during tough times, when budgets are lean and job security is at low ebb, treat your staff members with care and their loyalty will be assured when the economic roller coaster starts climbing back up. These days, turnover is becoming an increasing challenge for management. Loyalty is in scarce supply, but those whom you treat with dignity in hard times are much more likely to remain loyal during better times.
* Stay in touch with your key team members in terms of how they feel on a regular basis. We all have our ups and downs. “Be in the moment” with them—if you notice a dramatic shift in their mood or behavior, get involved “in the moment.” Find out what’s happening now, not next week when you might have more time or at the upcoming review just a few weeks away. Again, if you feel they prefer their privacy, honor that as well. You may have to use more sensitive means to help them, such as inviting them to come into your office when they feel the need rather than inviting them at your convenience.
* See each team member as a unique resource with special abilities. No one has all the characteristics necessary for excellence in all corners. Everyone has his or her strengths and weaknesses. Become more sensitive to using the positive resources that do exist; group individuals with complementary strengths for the most productive teams.
* Let your deeper self shine through to your staff members. If you happen to be more introverted than you like, no problem—just have quiet chats in private, and let the other guide the conversation. Whatever your personality, don’t hide behind your desk, metaphorically speaking. Charisma is, in part, letting others know what you really stand for and making the commitment to lead others with that banner waving freely in the wind.