As a leader, you know the importance of getting the most from your team members. You understand that every single person who makes up your team has the potential to be a positive, engaged, successful contributor to your organization.
But how can you help them unlock this potential?
With research, experience, and innovative thinking, Ian Pratt discovered the techniques for great leadership.
These are proven strategies that you can use to achieve results on many levels:
Here are some of Ian’s insights into praise….
Positive reinforcement is the single most important approach that you can use to get the most from your team. As a leader, when you provide positive reinforcement, you create employees who care about the team and freely give added effort to achieving everyone’s goals.
You may appreciate the importance of positive reinforcement, but do you really understand how to use it to get the best effort from your team members? With a few simple adjustments in your approach, you can become a significantly more effective leader, unlocking the discretionary effort in every team member.
Through positive reinforcement, you’ll be able to unlock something that we call “discretionary effort.” Before we can talk about unlocking discretionary effort, however, we need understand what it is and why it is so important to the long-term success of your organization.
Let’s take a look at the word “discretionary.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines discretionary as “left to or regulated by one’s own...judgment” or “available for use as needed or desired.”
Consider the common term “discretionary income,” which is money left over after you pay your bills and purchase necessary items like food and clothing. Whatever is left is yours to do with as you please. You can buy a new television, purchase tickets to a concert, or get the amazing wall painting you have always wanted for your home. The money is discretionary, so the choice is yours.
Now let’s apply the concept of “discretionary” to effort at work. There is a necessary amount of effort that every employee has to give in order to keep their jobs. They have to show up, meet deadlines, and perform tasks to at least the bare minimum requirements.
If they don’t put effort into these necessary things, it’s only a matter of time until they become former employees. But people are capable of so much more than the minimum, and what’s left over is their discretionary effort. This is the effort that employees can do with as they please. After the minimum effort is met, they may choose to look at Facebook, gossip with coworkers, or simply bide their time until the end of the day. Or they can use their discretionary effort to enhance your organization’s performance...
Employees can go the extra mile to serve customers, coordinate with co-workers, or double-check a project to make sure everything is properly organized. And the beauty of discretionary effort lies in one simple truth: every employee has it. Whether or not they use it to enhance your team, business, or organization comes down to your positive reinforcement and leadership.
With a little knowledge about leadership and little re-thinking about how you communicate with team members, you can unlock their true potential, giving your group more productivity and injecting a sense of pride into every individual, regardless of rank or tenure.
When the American Institute of Human Resources conducted a study on employee performance, they found three key factors that make feedback from leaders more effective. Understanding these factors is the first step to delivering effective positive reinforcement.
Informal - Your positive feedback should be informal, not rigidly-mandated evaluations required by corporate offices. An example of informal positive feedback would be stopping by a team member’s desk and saying “hey, I’m passing by to the meeting room, but while I’m in the area, excellent job on the way you handled the client yesterday.” The employee knows this little drop-in wasn’t a required, formal feedback session, just a casual way of showing your appreciation.
Frequent - If you provide positive feedback once, but fail to continue, your team members will soon forget it ever happened. It’s important that your positive feedback is frequent; consistently reminding employees that they have done something well, and giving daily affirmation that their effort matters and is noticed by the organization’s leadership.
Meaningful - “Good job” doesn’t cut it. It needs to be meaningful to the person you are talking to. If they filed a report the way you wanted it, let them know with specific positive feedback related to that task. If they nailed a sales pitch, tell them, with details, why the pitch was so good. Meaningful positive reinforcement shows your employees that you care about the specific tasks they are achieving.
Now that we understand the concept of discretionary effort, as well as the three keys to effective positive reinforcement, you can start to understand the Four Level of Praise. There is a simple, easy-to-understand formula that will ensure your team remains positive, gives their all, and stays loyal to you and your organization.
Managers frequently use appreciative praise. While this is necessary for tapping into your employee’s discretionary effort, it requires that you use associative praise. Ian discovered this fact first time he used associative praise. The employee was so overwhelmed that he cried with happiness and thanked Ian for giving him the best praise he had ever received.
In Ian’s book Leading People Towards Excellence, he uses clear, concise language to describe how to use the innovative Four Levels of Praise. They include two levels of appreciative praise and two levels of associative praise. To ensure your long-term success, you’ll be given exercises and self-tests that will help you develop and enhance your leadership potential.
So what’s the basic issue with most leader’s feedback? The issue is simple: leaders often provide feedback, but they don’t provide the right kind of Praise. Sure, they may be providing positive reinforcement, they may even be delivering informal, frequent feedback, but they are not quite providing the type of Praise that engages their people.
Through Ian Pratt’s book Leading People Towards Excellence, you’ll learn the secrets to achieving these goals. You’ll be given simple tactics for changing and shifting your management techniques, including strategic leadership enhancements that use informal feedback to reinforce your goals. Because you can’t always meet your people face-to-face, you’ll also discover the game-changing potential of praise via email and learn how to use it to engage your people the right way.
You have the potential to be a great leader. Start your journey by ordering Leading People Towards Excellence by Ian Pratt now.
You’ll get the tools you need to make your people care about the organization, the team, and the results. Do yourself and your team members a favor by picking up this book today!