Likes and Dislikes
Tip of the Month by Ron Jasniowski
Before I put on a one-day seminar for a client, I ask a lot of
questions. There is one question that all too often stumps my
clients. What would your employees say if I were to ask them,
“What are the top likes and dislikes you have about
working here?” Nearly
half of my clients say, “That is a good question, I don’t know.”
Occasionally I get permission to ask
employees on all three shifts what their top likes and dislikes
are about working for their current employer. Even though this is
very spontaneous and they have no idea about my specialty, they
frequently say something like, "My manager always criticizes what
I do wrong, and rarely appreciates what I do right." And
manager usually denies this
and claims to express appreciation
Why such a difference
in opinions? There are two reasons and two different perspectives.
First, managers often have an innate desire to help others improve.
And more frequently than they realize, they mix criticism with appreciation.
Often managers say something like, Hey, you did a nice job on that
project ..., then comes the dreaded "but" and the criticism. When
this happens managers
walk away feeling they helped the employee improve and expressed appreciation.
However employees walk
away feeling they were criticized.
needs to be expressed in a way that is 100% positive. Do not mix
criticism with appreciation! Separate the two. Always address
each separately and promptly.
Second, managers typically need less appreciation than employees.
Some managers feel expressing appreciation a couple times a month is
adequate. It is not.
Children constantly look to elders for
affirmation. If they don't get it, they are demoralized. Part of
adulthood, is needing less affirmation, but it doesn't cease. When
your employees go the extra mile without your acknowledgment or
appreciation, over time this demoralizes them. During times of
lack of communication, people often think the worst. Each day your
employees might be thinking: "My manager doesn't like me or the
work I do. Good work
performance makes no difference to my manager."
Annual reviews are no substitute for
regular feedback. Affirm your employees strengths frequently and
if they have some shortcomings that are holding them back, let
them know in a helpful manner. Also ask your employees what their top
workplace likes and dislikes are. Then ask them for their thoughts
of how you might make life at work better for them. Most of your
employees probably never had a manager who expressed that kind of
concern. Employees have a lot of respect for managers who express
genuine interest in their needs and concerns.
Unappreciated employees are our most perishable resource.
--Ron Jasniowski ©2002
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Jasniowski specializes in training managers and supervisors at in-house
training workshops and at leadership retreats around the country
about character-based leadership skills. This helps managers develop
the untapped potential in employees. Learn more from the
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