One often overlooked tip is sharing compliments and praises from others (customers, prospects, co-workers, vendors, etc.) with the person who was actually praised! So often a customer will be leaving a store and say something like this to the nearest staff person: “Jenny was so friendly and helpful today. She was so patient with me as I made my decisions. She is a true gem for your company and the reason I shop here!” The staffer thanks the customer, and that’s where the story usually ends. The buzzer sounds and game over.
Whenever you hear—or find out about—something like this, make sure Jenny knows! Be intentional about going to her and relating the kind words that were shared about her service and performance. If the affirming feedback from a customer or company executive was sent to you via email, promptly forward it to her. That reinforcement is powerful and will keep Jenny striving to perform at her highest level and exceeding expectations.
It was American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher B.F. Skinner who famously said “The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount.” Think about that for a second when it comes to how you share praise and compliments with those on your team.
Psychology has long touted the benefits of positive reinforcement. In the workplace, employees who feel valued and appreciated put in that extra discretionary effort, are fully vested in the success of the organization, and are cheerleaders who positively talk about the company to their family, friends, and network. The opposite is also true. Employees who aren’t receiving some kind of authentic positive reinforcement become apathetic, disengaged, have low morale, and simply go through the motions each day. Which type of employee would you rather have on your team?
One way to actively share positive reinforcement with those on your team is by passing along compliments and praises that those team members receive from others. It seems simple and like a no-brainer, but what is easy to do is easy not to do. Sharing this positive feedback will help develop a work culture that promotes sharing praise and appreciation in a genuine, authentic way. This in turn creates a work environment where employees feel good about themselves, their jobs, their coworkers, and their leaders. With time, this behavior will catch on and you’ll notice Patrice from the front desk flagging down Hermoine from customer service and sharing with her the compliment Patrice just heard about Hermoine from one of your customers.
This week I challenge you to start paying more attention to the feedback you receive from customers, prospects, vendors, other team members, and colleagues about those you lead. When you hear something positive and praise-worthy about someone on your team, share the compliment with them! Encourage those on your team to do the same!
FUN FACT - We all know the importance of listening to customer feedback. Did you know that Henry Ford almost tanked Ford Motor Company by not listening to customer input? He was laser-focused on producing his one-size-fits-all Model T. Instead of listening to what his customers wanted, he stuck to his original vision of producing a single, low-cost car. As a result, the Ford Motor Company sold just 15% of the cars it manufactured in 1927, down from 60% in 1921. 1927 was the same year, not coincidentally, that Ford finally retired the Model T and unveiled a more modern car: the Model A. Another example of the importance of soliciting and listening to customer feedback!