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Being Human

Reflex Praise
A recent blog from Doug Shaw on Employee Recognition talked about the importance of immediacy and authenticity in recognising achievements at work.
I think that at the heart of employee recognition is a true appreciation of the individual and a need for reflex praise from the organisation.  Reflex praise is akin to the praise and feedback that we all received as children as we took our first steps or uttered our first words.
Reflex praise is about being human and recognising in others what they can achieve as much as what they have achieved already.
Are you being human?
So as a manager or leader what do you think of your employees?  Are they just a resource to manage your business processes or have you chosen to work with other humans with potential?
Your view of your employees is fundamentally this simple.  It will drive your actions and behaviours and ultimately the performance that you can expect from your organisation.
“My people are just a resource.”
We are often employed to perform a particular range of tasks or business functions but do you see your employees just as resources to achieve these needs?  Do you behave and act in this way?
If this is how you see your employees, then aren’t the softer aspects of organisational management irrelevant?  You will want to monitor and measure performance of course.  After all you want to know that your employees are managing the business processes properly.
However, wouldn’t anything further be unnecessary?  An Employee Engagement survey wouldn’t be of any benefit would it?  You won’t be great at it, as you don’t believe in it, and your employees will see it for what it is – irrelevant.
If you think that you employ people as a resource to manage your business processes, then why would you try to behave as if you don’t?
If you don’t believe that you employ people as a resource to manage your business processes then don’t act as if you do…
“I’ve chosen to work with other humans with potential.”
It might feel like a fluffy statement but actually it’s a fundamental statement, especially for a manager or leader.
We choose who we work with.  Sometimes the choice might be compromised by circumstances, lack of information or even our own poor decisions.  However, we do make that choice and must take accountability for it.
The people we chose to work with are human like ourselves, like our family, like our friends.  Our relationships are not the same but they are human, have needs and enormous potential.
So why wouldn’t we behave in a way that recognises employees as humans with needs and potential?  Why wouldn’t we behave in a way that recognises the consequences of the choices we make as managers or leaders?
Yes, it requires that we are to some extent open and vulnerable but we can still maintain the professional relationship that we’ve chosen to undertake.

More importantly we can be human.

Three tips for Leaders & Managers
  1. Think about your organisation.  Will it achieve its best results by seeing employees as resources or by treating them as humans with enormous potential?
  2. Look at the way you manage & lead and think about how your actions are perceived.  Are they congruent with your beliefs?
  3. Look at the processes your organisation uses with its employees.  Do they support the above or are they in conflict?


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