Develop the habit of catching your people doing the right things. Focus on what’s right. Use this leadership principle regularly and great change will happen. Your people will work with increased energy. They’ll work with enthusiasm. They’ll find their jobs meaningful.
You do not need me to show you volumes of research for you to believe. You know that you improve in performance when you know that your boss appreciates the right things you do. You know, based on your experiences, that when you focused on your strengths you’ve worked with passion and confidence.
But many good managers are not following the principle of Focus on What’s Right. Many of our well-intention managers focus on what’s wrong.
That’s because it is common in many workplaces that managers are trained to find fault. This is easy to understand. One of the jobs of managers is to avoid mistakes from happening. They want zero complaints, zero waste … and zero troubles. They developed the acute ability to detect that something wrong is happening and someone is doing something wrong. Eventually, these good managers, all with good intentions, developed the habit of focusing on what’s wrong.
If you are a manager who has the habit of catching and celebrating your people who are doing something right, please continue what you are doing. You are doing the right thing.
If you have already developed the habit of catching people doing something wrong, you can start changing now. It will be difficult at first. Even your people will not believe the new you. They too have developed the habit. They think like their leaders.
I suggest that you leave your expensive corner office more often and visit your people on the floor. Converse with them. Find out what they are doing right — and affirm what is right. When appropriate, find time to tell others about the right things your people are doing. Celebrate them before their peers. Tell your superiors about them.
Be authentic in your appreciation. You do not praise people just to make them feel good. You are showing everyone what’s right to magnify what’s right. Be creative in communicating your appreciation.