One of the simplest management tactics you can use to build trust and positive morale is where you find a small amount of time in your day to appreciate your people.
This can take the form of praise; encouragement; delegation and even that simplest of activities, just saying ‘thank you’.
Sometimes even just keeping it personal is very effective indeed.
I recently came across a team where the manager wasn’t the best at saying ‘thank you’ or showing appreciation in much of any way at all.
One of his team was leaving after a few months only, to go back to college – she was 19 years old and had settled in very well, becoming a big contributor to the team very quickly.
The team had 7 people in it and it was clear that they would all miss this employee – and indeed she gave a strong impression that she would miss them too (even marking ‘so sad’ on the calendar for her leaving day!).
This was made very clear on the day after she left, when she returned to the office and left everyone a small card.
Inside the card were a few sentences which thanked each one personally for their friendship and how much she would miss them. There were also a few words of what was so special about each of them, including the manager himself.
Now, I don’t know if the hint was taken by the manager, but every individual was not only hugely touched by the gesture, but each was surprised and enlarged with the rosy-glow of the value they each contributed to the person leaving.
Small, personalized, honest and very appreciative were the comments. But what a difference they made to each of her friends and colleagues. A difference that would be long-lasting and specific to each of them.
As managers, we can always learn a lot from our people, when we take the time to notice – and then apply – what we observe.
It takes a little effort to get down off that high horse we sit on when we are the boss – and when we are humble enough to do so, we can make great steps forward, making our own difference as we go.