Trust, Ambition and Hard Work – Giving Bosses What They Want

Continuing the theme of employees taking responsibility for their own engagement, what does it take to earn a boss’ respect and desire to recognize employee achievements? In a recent BNet article, Jo Owen described leadership as “managing a kindergarten class on drugs” because of the seeming need of their staff for “more time, more attention, more reassurance, more praise.”

I’ve frequently blogged about the value and importance of regular recognition to feed that need for more attention, reassurance and praise. But recognition without reason becomes an empty gesture, valued by none.

Owen asked bosses what their priorities were for employees: hard work, proactivity, intelligence, reliability, and ambition. Interestingly, trust was also a key point for bosses – the desire for honesty (about problems before they get worse), and also reliability and delivery on commitments.

These are not uncommon desires. Most are usually reflected somehow in a company’s values. Among our customers, I’ve seen values such as Integrity, Honesty, Commitment to the Team, Execution, and Proactive Approach to Customer Needs, to name a few. If these or any other behaviors are ones you want to encourage amongst your employees, then consider codifying those in your company values. If that is already done, then reinforce those values for your employees by tying them explicitly to every recognition moment. This brings your company values to life by clearly demonstrating what behaviors, actions and outcomes are worthy of recognition.

Join the discussion. Tell me what you want to see demonstrated by your employees in comments.

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