Discover the key to a successful workplace.
Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton are no strangers to the complex ecosystem of workplace culture. They have spent over 20 years working together, coaching companies, and writing on culture, leadership, and engagement. Through their work on The Carrot Principle and All In, they found that employee recognition is vital. When people feel valued and appreciated at work, they do better work. And when they believe what they do matters, they are more engaged and make a difference in the workplace.
These concepts took Adrian and Chester around the world, lecturing on how to bring recognition to the workplace. It was when they were doing executive coaching for Marshall Goldsmith they had an epiphany: “what we found missing in leaders we’ve coached over the years is that people aren’t recognizing the value that is creating around them, especially in tough times”. With the help of psychologists and others, Adrian and Chester began listing reasons why leaders aren’t grateful. Coupled with data from over a million engagement surveys, their latest book, Leading With Gratitude: Eight Leadership Practices for Extraordinary Business Results was born.
What is standing in the way of leaders showing gratitude?
There are a few common myths Adrian and Chester found that stand in the way of leaders expressing gratitude:
I don’t have enough time. Through their research, Adrian and Chester found that the best leaders spend about 2% of their time on gratitude. This small (yet manageable) amount of time leads to a rise in engagement, employee retention, and customer satisfaction.
My people want too much recognition, especially the younger folks. On the contrary, Adrian and Chester interviewed dozens of younger people and found that they don’t just want hollow pats on the back, they want genuine recognition that tells and shows them that they are on the right path. In their mindset, if you don’t recognize what they are doing right, they will keep doing things differently until told otherwise.
Learn to “tailor your gratitude”.
Adrian and Chester give an example of a manager they worked with who wanted to recognize his employees, so he gave out Starbucks cards. When checking on the employees receiving these cards, he found a variety of reactions. Some were happy with the gift, some were upset because they thought the task they accomplished deserved something greater than a $5 gift card, and some didn’t even use the gift cards because they don’t drink coffee. The lesson, Adrian and Chester assert, is to find out what motivates people. Therefore, you can figure out the best way to be grateful to them. After all, we are all different. Too common, we put on blinders and think the way we want to be recognized is the same way others would like to be recognized.
Assume positive intent.
With a worldwide pandemic and most people working from home, it’s harder than ever to gauge the intent behind employees’ actions. In these tough times, it is essential to lead with a human touch. As Adrian and Chester put it, “people want to do a good job. And yet, there are things that get in the way.” They go on to give an example from a common household product: WD-40. It stands for “Water Displacement 40th Formula”—meaning there were 39 formulas that didn’t work. WD-40 creator Gary Ridge says, “we don’t have mistakes, we have learning moments.” Put simply, it is important to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Adrian and Chester leave us with three tips on fixing your culture overnight:
- Give your employees a voice.
- Be more grateful as a leader.
- Teach your managers and team members how to recognize and appreciate each other.
Learn more from Adrian and Chester by watching the full AuthorConnect Chat below, and order Leading with Gratitude in bulk for your team or organization today.
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This post was written by Megan Habel, Brand Strategist at BookPal. She is currently reading My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren.