How to really accentuate the positive in Employee Engagement
by David Zinger
Part 2 of a 2 Part Interview
Jerry Pounds is a management consultant with over 30 years of experience in applying positive reinforcement, reward, and recognition strategies to business and industry. He has written and spoken on the application and problematic nature of corporate motivational and rewards programs and personally trained thousands of executives, managers, and supervisors in the use of praise and rewards. Jerry is a thoughtful and engaging blogger and writes Positive Influence a blog that offers positive strategies that encourage employee engagement.
4. What should we know about recognition within organizations?
Recognition has to be used thoughtfully-recognition can easily destroy teamwork and create internal competition-irrespective of management’s intentions. Public group recognition needs to be followed by private, individual feedback. Your best employees need to get input that corroborates their self-perception-but not in front of other employees.
Celebrate group performance with food and laughter. Good fellowship and good will create altruism and set the stage for discretionary effort. If you have a supervisor who knows how to use positive reinforcement, the discretionary effort prompted by creating a positive emotional environment can be positively reinforced when it occurs.
Anytime management recognizes someone as the best, the most, the leader…it creates discord among employees. Recognition systems seldom factor in barriers and constraints-some employees have to work twice as hard as others just to do an average job because they are limited by dysfunctional processes and antiquated systems.
5. You are very focused on managers in your blog. It seems you like the down-to-earth direct gumption and interaction of managers. Can you briefly elaborate on this?
Everyone is spending too much time trying to learn how to be leaders and managers. Learn how to be a healthy human being first. Employee engagement is a product of emotional bonding with one’s supervisor-of a healthy interpersonal relationship. Supervisors need to understand how their behavior creates a positive or negative emotional bond.
Use self-management to reframe your role as a supervisor; acknowledge with humility that people don’t work for you; you are there to take care of them. The role of a leader is auspicious; the supervisor is in charge of his or her flock-their welfare is your responsibility. Make an effort to adopt that mindset.
Stop trying to learn how to be a better boss and learn how to be a humane coach…a kind mentor. Think of how much better the workplace would be if everyone in authority was a trained counselor-if they knew how to get people to do their best without using raw authority. Managing the emotions-the feelings of your employees is the fastest route to discretionary effort.
6. Jerry, in conclusion, you have a number of great posts on your site. Do you have one or two favorites you would recommend to readers?
- All the World’s a Stage;
- Participative Positive Reinforcement: The Power of Peer Reinforcement;
- Reinforcing Work Dialogs: The Emotional Catalyst for Employee Engagement:
- Reinforcing Work Dialogs: The Key to Engagement;
- Positive Reinforcement the Way Nature Intended.
I strongly encourage you to subscribe to Jerry’s blog and make his blog part of your regular study to improve employee engagement.