Over the years, I've heard thousands of people complaining about their managers. From all of those complaints, there are five I hear the most.
1) Rarely, if ever, give positive recognition; they only complain when things go wrong.
2) Fail to listen, acknowledge, and/or follow up
3) Are not inspirational - constantly looking at all the negative
4) Are not clear on what they really expect
5) Do not connect and care about people; people seem like just a number or a part in a machine.
There is good news though - it's really not that difficult to change this!
We know how damaging it can be to productivity and quality of work when people have little respect or admiration for a leader. So what can we do, as a leader, to change that? One of the easiest things to do is LAF with your people: Listen, Acknowledge and Follow up. Stop and listen to someone. Fully listen, be in the moment, and don't interrupt. Hear them out. Acknowledge what they've said, and if they are upset, acknowledge their emotion (empathy - for example, "I can understand how frustrating that must be for you). Be clear on what you plan to do, and follow up. If you cannot do anything, be clear on that too. Listening and acknowledging will make a big impact. Making a little time for this upfront will save you a tremendous amount of time in fixing problems later.
A great question came up in a class recently about this. "Why should I have to take time out to make people feel good, when they should be coming to work, to work. It's not that I don't listen, but I'm not all touchy feely about it. We're here to do a job, why can't people just do it? I don't think we need to be coddling them so much." Listen to this week's podcast for the answer.
"LAF"ing with your people will build trust and camaraderie. It will inspire people because they will feel that you truly care about them. When you start to sprinkle in some recognition for the things they are doing right, people really start to feel inspired, engaged and much more productive. Try it, it only takes a little time and patience. The results are worth it!
Share in the comments below how you will incorporate LAF with your people.