Humans desire recognition. As Hegel explores in his book – The Phenomenology of Spirit – humans are social creatures. Maslow’s pyramid of human motivation reaffirms this with self esteem taking its place near the top of the pyramid. This usually takes 2 forms, respect from others and self-respect. The second, self-respect, largely has to be developed internally by each individual. However, respect and appreciation from others in something you as a manager can do to make your employees feel valued.
1) A personal surprise
As scientists have found, the human brain loves surprises. What makes them even more special? If they’re directly targeted at an individual. This means showing your appreciation for an individual in your team in a personal way. For example, realise your newest employee has been spending the last few weeks plugging away at an urgent project, have a 1 on 1 chat with him to thank him and reward him with a day off at the end of the week. This kind of personal touch shows care for the individual and has great effects.
2) Team bonding
Team building exercises again you might think? However, there are two ways to ensure that they are effective. Firstly, think of your group dynamics and choose something that fits most of them. For example, if they are sporty individuals, do something outdoors. Secondly, this is one item that works better when it’s a routine and integrated into a company structure. Therefore, make sure you find some great team building activity planners/services and fit them into your team’s busy schedule.
While no one wants to see a co-worker get drunk, casual drinks after work or especially after a big project are a great way to get to know your team better in a casual setting. Furthermore, it’s a great way to reward employees and allow them a relaxed venue to get to know you better too. Studies have found that people who go out for drinks more with co-workers tend to be more successful in the corporate world. This largely stems from the connections and improved relationships that come from such night outs. It’s certainly not the cheapest way to reward your employees (especially in Singapore) but many people like to relax with a drink or two so find some good happy hour deals and have a great time!
4) Believe in your team and act on it
This might be the hardest item. However, it can potentially have the largest impact. Take a step back and look at each team member individually and identify their strengths, weaknesses and where you think they can go in their career. Now, support them and help them to reach that level by personally acting as an executive sponsor for them internally. This could take a range of actions such as mentoring, providing career counselling, sponsoring them for a company funded course or award and more. Bosses who help their employees set and achieve their goals lead more engaged, happy teams. Without a doubt, if you believe in your employees, they’ll respect and believe in you too.