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Positive Talk

By Bill Hodges
Dec 11, 2008 - 10:11:39 AM

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Christmas is fast approaching. Most of us take a great deal of time determining the gifts we will give to friends and relatives at holidays. If we happen to be supervisors, it may be time for us to take a minute and think about gifts we can give to those who help us to be successful -- the people who work for and with us.
In this time of economic turmoil and corporate belt tightening, we may not always be able to give the first gift that comes to mind -- money.
Believe it or not, there may be gifts that in the long run are ­better than money. According to the Herz­berg motivation theory, ­money is more of a dissatisfier than a satisfier. No matter how much of it we are given, we begin to take it for granted and very quickly become dissatisfied with the new pay ­level. Herzberg goes on to say that the true satisfiers in any job have to do with achievement, recognition, challenges, responsibility, and advance­ment leading to personal growth. In fact, a survey published by the American Management ­Association came to the conclusion that approximately 70 percent of the people who change jobs do so for one of the above reasons, with money being well down on the list. With these things in mind, what then can we give our employees, friends and co-­workers as gifts?
First, look for ways to express our appreciation for a job well done. A simple “thank you” spoken in private to co-workers will be appreciated, but the same “thank you” said in front of their peer group will be treasured. A ­letter to them with a copy put in their personnel file may pay them dividends for years to come.
Ken Blanchard, author of the One Minute Manager, said that we spend too much time trying to catch people doing something wrong when it would be more productive to expend the same energy trying to catch them doing something right. Recognition is always appreciated, and it doesn’t have to entail the hiring of a brass band. A birthday card is a nice way to say, “I’m glad you are on this earth.” A picture and article in your company newsletter about them and one of their achievements, e.g., ­received 15-year service pin, will let them know they are recognized as important to the organization.
We can look for ways to give co-workers meaningful challenges and responsibilities. Help them to understand the goals of the organization and how they can play a part in achieving them. When you help them to see how important their work is to the success of the company, they will have a reason to take pride in it. However, challenges and responsibilities should be realistic and not ­overwhelming.
None of this is to say that people should not be compensated fairly for their efforts and contributions. A  business that continues to pay its employees well below market will lose those employees eventually, no matter how good the working conditions are on the job. People do have to feed their families and meet their obligations, so if you can give them a raise along with better working conditions, then by all means do it.
People who feel appreciated, recognized, challenged with earned responsibility, and are fairly compensated will take care of their own promotions and, because you are their leader, probably ensure yours. Look for ways to create a successful environment and everyone will benefit.

Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.

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Copyright 2008 Hodges Seminars International

© Copyright 2008 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

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