The Power of Praise and How It Impacts the Productivity of Teams

Most of us have heard the following expression on numerous occasions:  Nobody cares how much you know, until they first know how much you care.

You may think that this is an odd subject to discuss when it comes to the topic of teams and yet, as a coach to many, many top teams I can share with you that a lack of praise and appreciation for their members have caused many team leaders to lose outstanding talent.  In fact, some team leaders are so harsh and brittle that they have their team members scrambling to please them, stressed out and burnt out, and the turnover of staff and agents on the team is like a parade of candidates coming in the front door and leaving quickly out the back.  The team leaders who do not embrace the concept of praising their teams are often themselves burnt out, since they are consumed with hiring and training new talent as they can’t keep the talent they have.

One team leader I spoke to today said, “They are the wind beneath my wings and I would not be the dominant market presence I am without them,” and he said he tells them this every day.

I read once a quote that has stuck with me, “Innovation does not occur in a dictatorship.”

Whether you are a team leader, manager, or broker remember the power of praise and collaboration.  People will often do more for recognition than they will do for money.

When Walt Disney was expanding Disneyland he would often pull a janitor, a ticket taker, and the girl in the snow white costume into a conference room and ask them for their opinion on a new attraction he had on the drawing board.  He would, in essence, attempt to extract someone from all positions in the park.

Disney’s employees loved him; they felt valued and retention of staff was outstanding.

When each team member feels valuable they are more likely to contribute at a higher level to team production and more likely to go the extra mile for their customers.  Why?  Because they feel part of something special, because they are proud of their team and the service it provides.

There is a quote I often hear, perhaps you too are familiar with it.  “It is amazing what people can accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit.”  With all due respect to the original author of this quote, my thinking has always been along the lines of, “It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when we give people proper credit for what they individually achieve.”

People crave individual praise, not group or company praise.  Without question there is an unmistakable correlation between retention and praise!

Tips for team leaders on how to praise your team members:

  • Pay attention to their accomplishments, both personal and business.
  • Recognize the situations in which they go the extra mile for a team member or a client.
  • Consider setting aside the first five minutes of every team meeting to praise and acknowledge those who deserve it. When giving recognition be specific and sincere.
  • Consider sharing glowing client testimonials with the entire team.
  • Allow team members to rotate as the team meeting leader.
  • Ask for input. Let them know their ideas and suggestions may not always be something you will act on, however you are always willing to listen with an open mind.
  • Try your best not to interrupt or belittle their contributions, be patient and hear them out.
  • Set a monthly team goal with a bonus end of month celebration if the team achieves the goal.
  • Don’t just praise results, praise efforts. Remember, people cannot always control the results but they can always control the effort.
  • Encourage the team to find ways to be of service to the community and praise them for doing so.
  • Praise them in public but criticize them in private, and when you do criticize remember to criticize only the behavior, not the person.
  • Remember and celebrate their birthdays and other milestones in their life. This shows them they are a person to you that matters and not merely a commodity.
  • Send a letter of recognition/congratulations to the agents spouse or significant other.

Give them a little attention and praise, and watch them bloom!

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