How often do you recognise people for doing their job? Not the over and above work, just the work that they are ‘paid’ to do. You know, the ordinary work that is part of their job.
By ‘recognise’ I mean a simple thank you or a quiet pointing out that you appreciate such and such being done.
Maybe a junior administrator completes photocopying tasks for you. Simply saying, “Thanks for getting that done so quickly, I appreciate it.” can go a long way to helping that person feel valued. When people feel valued they are more likely to keep repeating the (often) simple behaviours that have been recognised.
I’m not talking about going over the top and making a big deal about ordinary tasks. In fact, my experience indicates such behaviour would have a negative effect on your colleague.
Interestingly, I find quietly appreciating people for their efforts works just as well with children and adults outside of the work environment. I have five children of my own (aged from 15 to four) and am also heavily involved in junior sport where parental support is essential for the teams to function properly.
‘Catching‘ children doing the ‘right thing‘ and pointing it out helps them to repeat those good behaviours (although isn’t it interesting how many adults are very good at pointing out the poor behaviours that children do but completely miss pointing out the good behaviours! Then this pattern is repeated at work – only the poor work is noticed!).
Quietly and subtly thanking parents for their support also re-enforces the supportive behaviours. It doesn’t matter who does more or less in terms of contribution, what matters is that the jobs get done (and done properly!) and the team co-ordinators aren’t left ‘pulling teeth‘ to get parents to help them.
In simple terms, appropriately acknowledging people for doing the right thing at work, home and in community organisations simply makes life easier and more pleasant too! As Dan Pink says in the RSA Animate video below, treat people like people and organisations can make the world just a little bit better!
What simple, yet effective methods do you have for recognising people for ‘just doing their job‘?
In 2011 Michael Porter and Mark Kramer wrote an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) about organisations creating shared value.
Porter and Kramer argued that organisations need to operate from a new paradigm. One where value creation is not just about profit generation but also about how organisations can contribute to solving community and societal problems. Interestingly their article was not solely about corporate social responsibility.
They spoke about a genuine paradigm shift in which profit and social responsibility create equal value and they argued that it is possible to create such an organisation.
Shared value provides value to the organisation achieving its objectives, provides value to the employees of the organisation in helping them to contribute to worthwhile projects and provides value to the broader community in contributing to solving social problems. Importantly, shared valued will enhance your performance and therefore your career.
A challenge you face is that it is highly likely that neither you nor your colleagues know how to have the conversations that will enable the paradigm shift that Porter and Kramer described. This is difficult for professionals to acknowledge because in doing so you will be admitting that, from your perspective, you are not fully competent in your role. After all, aren’t you supposed to have developed your management competencies both from your education and your experience over time?
If you see yourself as a life-long learner you will be okay with identifying skills that require improvement.
Unfortunately you won’t have been exposed to the set of skills required to enable you and your colleagues to engage in dialogue. The short video below explains where dialogue sits within the Conversation Continuum, and the essential skills that underpin its development.
The fastest way that you and your colleagues can develop the conversation skills required to enable a paradigm shift to occur, is to learn dialogue together. A safe environment where both you and your colleagues are willing learners will enable you to quickly master the skills associated with dialogue and create the opportunity for paradigm shifts described by Porter and Kramer to occur.