Getting to the Heart of Productivity

Getting to the Heart of Productivity

Many managers, directors, and supervisors (including myself) have been brought up in a culture that values productivity as a daily goal. True to my upbringing, I continue to strive for efficiency, production, and daily results; always trying to work smarter, not harder in everything we do. Whether you were brought up in this culture or not, I know you value productivity because you are where you are – you get results, you want your people to take pride in their work and you know the organization’s success is a direct reflection on your leadership.

Yes, getting people to be productive is a key to success, especially in the service business. How you and I motivate our people is not the same as it once was. We now know that the majority of workers are no longer motivated solely by a paycheck, they want more than money.

If you have attended any leadership events over the last 5 years, you know workers are motivated by different factors from fair pay to work/life balance to recognition and appreciation.  In fact, PR Newswire reported that according to a 2023 Wakefield Research survey, two in three (67%) of employed Americans say they don’t always feel appreciated for their contributions at work.

Basically, the research is telling us that our team members just want to feel a part of a team and want to be recognized verbally for their effort. Kouznes & Posner book, The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations, has a workbook that sheds some light on the current research about employee motivation and links it to a leader’s ability to motivate and support their followers through genuine care and appreciation. The two components that seem to be the most important are recognizing the employees’ contributions and celebrating their values and victories.

More details can be found in the complete book, but one thing I want to share here is this: “Lead with heart: Genuinely care about your team and let them know it.” To encourage lasting commitment, engage your team’s hearts as well as their minds. This means connecting with them personally.

Coming from a different culture that focuses on productivity as the central most important aspect of our leadership goals, we don’t necessarily think this way. What The Leadership Challenge reminds us of is that productivity is still the key to success, the shift is in how we motivate our workers toward productivity. When you and I sincerely and personally recognize the contributions of our team members, we help them feel appreciated for both what they do and who they are. Encouragement helps people operate at their peak level, and helps people endure long workdays, when the work is difficult, and the challenges seem daunting. At these times, people need emotional replenishment from leaders as well as the encouragement that will fuel their commitment.

“The first job of Leadership is to love people. Leadership without love is manipulation.” ~ Rick Warren

Cultivate the greatness you see within your team members by giving heartfelt recognition for their contributions to the work you do.

Keep growing the greatness,