Does your boss know you and appreciate you for your work? If you’re in charge of people, how often do you give positive feedback?

How much focus is there in your workplace on what’s wrong and what’s not working, compared to what’s right and what progress is being made?

The reason I ask is because when I go into a company to help their managers improve, I hear a lot about what’s wrong. But that’s my job. People tell me where they need help.

So sometimes it’s hard for me to judge what it’s like every day for the people who work in organizations. That’s why we use assessments and interviews to try to “take the temperature” of the culture.

There’s no denying it. Surveys have repeatedly shown that the No. 1 reason why most Americans leave their jobs is the feeling they’re not appreciated (Gallup).

In fact, 65% of people surveyed said they received no recognition for good work last year, according to Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, authors of How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life (2004).

According to Gallup research, what employees want most — along with competitive pay — is quality management. When they feel unappreciated and disapprove of their managers, they leave or join the growing ranks of the disengaged.

There are three things that positive leaders do. When a boss pays attention to these three things, their people tend to achieve higher performance and better results for their teams.

In 2005, Jerry Krueger and Emily Killham shared the results of Gallup research that showed managers play a crucial role in employee well-being and engagement — but the research didn’t study what managers specifically did to elicit positive responses.

That’s why Margaret Greenberg, president of The Greenberg Group, and Dana Arakawa, a program associate at the John Templeton Foundation, put the theory of positive leadership to the test. They wanted to know if managers who apply positive leadership practices have teams with higher project performance and employee engagement.

As it turns out, positive managers practice three leadership behaviors. They:

  1. Use a strengths-based approach.
  2. Provide frequent recognition and encouragement.
  3. Maintain a positive perspective when difficulties arise.

None of this is innate behavior, but all can be learned. It isn’t hard to understand or to do. …And yet, somehow people don’t do it enough.

Why is that? Why don’t people express more appreciation for each other? What’s your opinion, I’d love to hear from you.

(Photo: freedigitalphotos.net)