Turbo Leadership Systems

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Issue 8 To our clients and friends July 27, 2004
Acknowledgement Provides Incentive
Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership


Randy, procurement manager for a food brokerage company in Seattle, Washington, told Session 4 of the Leadership Development Lab:

“This last May I had the opportunity to hand out bonuses for the first time. Like anything that we do for the first time I was a little uncertain of myself and not totally sure of the right way to do it. I was pretty sure there was a better way than the way I had been given bonuses in the past. Sometime with no comment, the bonus was just attached to one of my regular paychecks. Other times they were handed out with sort of a left handed comment, such as ‘Good job’, followed by ‘just think how big it would be if you really, etc. etc.’

“The first associate I sat down with, I carefully went through their incentive program step-by-step discussing his performance and spelling out the specifics of his performance compared to the targets. I praised him for a job well done. We shook hands and I gave him his check. He said thanks (I guess I was expecting a little more) and left my office. I wondered if I had done my first quarter incentive review correctly. He had seemed kind of quiet. In spite of his lackluster response, I followed my plan as I handed out the remainder of the bonuses that morning.

That afternoon, the first associate I had met with came back into my office. He wanted to tell me how much he appreciated my spending time with him going over his incentive carefully “instead of just handing me the check with no explanation.” He shook my hand again and said, ‘Thank you.’ He didn’t know it, but I needed his feedback as much as he needed mine. Passing out my first incentive checks turned out to be a real success for me and as it turned out for the team.

“The lesson I learned from this experience is that I need to show genuine interest in my associates. I need to look for every opportunity to provide feedback and empowering acknowledgement. I learned that as important as the money is, the time I take with my team providing empowering acknowledgement is more important. The action I call you to take is to show a genuine interest in your associates by providing meaningful feedback and acknowledgement. The benefit you will gain is a team that will be respectful of you and each other. Your team will know ‘how am I doing’ and that will build confidence which will result in peak performance and continuous improvement.”