Praise pays in many ways
Patrick, manager of an automotive repair shop, told Session 6B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"We hired a young man about a year ago. He's a kind of tall, skinny, bashful kid. It was my job to train him in the way we do things, including the way we inspected cars. After a few weeks, I showed him how to write up estimates. He kind of just shuffled along in what he was doing. I let him work at his pace for a while to fully observe how he did things. I noticed how much technical knowledge he had in a lot of areas that some of us were a little lacking in. I realized he was fresh out of college and really into some areas like we all were when we first got out of college. He just didn't seem to have any 'fire.'
"One day he came shuffling into work and I asked him if he had a moment; I wanted to talk to him for a minute. We weren't very busy that morning, so I took him off to the side and said, 'Jaman, I really admire the technical knowledge you have and the way you share it with us. The way you can walk by and look at the front or rear end of a truck and tell all its specs, including its gear ratios, is really amazing. This knowledge can make you as valuable to us as any senior technician.' He smiled and turned a little red and said, 'Thank you.' I felt I had unintentionally embarrassed him a little bit.
"At the end of the day, I told him he'd done a really good job and I'd see him in the morning. Well, the next day, he came in and was moving a little faster and working a little quicker. He was a little more confident and more friendly. I thought, 'What's going on? This is a good thing.' He had a really good production day and he's been doing well ever since. It was a great thing to see, just from a few words being spoken to him about how valuable and important he was to the shop because of
his technical knowledge.
"The lesson I learned from this experience is that if I take a genuine interest in new employees as much as I do in older employees, sometimes I can find an employee who can be just as valuable as someone who has been here for many years. The action I challenge you to take is to acknowledge the people working with you. Compliment them. Let them know they are doing a good job. Praise and acknowledgement are as important as giving them money because it gives their ego, their self-esteem a boost. The benefit you will gain is a better, more confident, productive team member. Your company will grow because you have a team member who feels good about being a part of your organization."
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