I spy with my little eye! Be intentional about taking the “I Spy” approach with your people. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind. We all have more work, responsibilities, requests for our time, and demands on our performance than ever before. Technology has made our lives easier in many ways, but it’s also brought us more distraction and disruption.
It’s easy to stay in the coach’s corner and not go out in the field unless you’re urgently needed to put out a fire. This one takes intentionality to catch your people doing things right—going above and beyond! When you “spy” on them and see a behavior, attitude, or action that excels and is out of the norm, be sure to mention it in person. This is particularly meaningful when you have a team member that is struggling. Acknowledging and calling out what they are doing well has incredible impact on their morale—and the way they view you as a leader.
When Glassdoor and Harris Interactive surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. adults in 2013, they found that four out of five employees were motivated to work harder when their boss showed them appreciation.
Look them in the eye, use their name, and sincerely thank them by identifying the specific behavior, action, or attitude they exhibited that deserves praise. Tell them how much you appreciate the effort and what it means to you, the customer, the team, the company, etc. Noticing and acknowledging improved behavior will have that underperforming staffer craving those accolades so that they repeat what warranted it to begin with. It will also increase their respect for—and personal loyalty to—you.
Webster Dictionary defines encouragement as the act of encouraging, which means “giving hope or promise.” One way to ensure your team is “feeling the love” is taking the time to recognize them for their hard work. Take a few moments each week to really look and see what your team is doing. Who is going above and beyond? Who is persevering despite struggling? Research has found that organizations with a strong focus on recognition experience stronger engagement levels, increased employee morale, better customer service, and lower turnover. Acknowledging achievement can have serious ROI – to the tune of 50% higher productivity and as much as 20% increase in business outcomes.
Think back to a time when one of your bosses acknowledged you for an accomplishment. How did that make you feel and what impact did it have on your performance? How can you emulate that same experience for someone on your team? Share your success stories with us in the comments below!
FUN FACT: The game I Spy originated in the early 20th century. The game spawned a highly successful series of I-SPY spotter's guide books made for British children. These were very popular in the 1950s and 1960s. The guessing game was preceded by another children's game called I Spy (or Hy Spy). This was a variant of what is now called Hide and Seek and was known in the UK from the 18th century.