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Morale Boosters: Feed the Troops First

When economic conditions turn tough or when the heavy work load seems never-ending, leaders tend to forget the "basics"?building commitment beyond the paycheck. It's the small things everyday that can bring down morale and it's the small things everyday that can raise performance. A holiday party or picnic once or twice a year probably won't do it. Rather, it's a leader's sincere recognition that employees are assets to be valued, not tools to be used up and discarded. Here are quick ways too boost morale.

Don't let respect slip under the radar screen.
If you treat your employees with respect you will earn their respect. For example, if you pay attention to and take care of your front-line people, they will in turn pay attention to and take care of the customer. Start with daily greetings. Remember their birthdays or other important dates. Take an interest in their interests. Say thank you for a job well done.

Take them serious.
There's incredible brainpower all around you, so why not put it to work? You hired your employees because you thought they could make a valuable contribution. Ask for their suggestions to problems. Include them in decisions that affect their work. Give them enough authority that goes with their responsibility.

Work for your people.
Listen and act quickly on their questions. Clear the way so they can do their jobs well. Once people see their leader as acting for them, or on their behalf, they develop a personal loyalty that energizes their performance.

Walk the talk.
Here are 5 tips from employees to leaders on how NOT to walk the talk of employee motivation. Are they talking about YOU?

  • Make promises but don't deliver. Only give excuses.
  • Be nice to me only when you want something extra from me.
  • Let me find out through the gossip mill if you don't like my work.
  • Scream at me when things go wrong and ignore me when things go well.
  • If it's really a 'rush job', interrupt me every 10 minutes to inquire how it's going.

Marcia Zidle, the 'people smarts' coach, works with business leaders to quickly solve their people management headaches so they can concentrate on their #1 job to grow and increase profits. She offers free help through Leadership Briefing, a weekly e-newsletter with practical tips on leadership style, employee motivation, recruitment and retention and relationship management. Subscribe by going to and get the bonus report "61 Leadership Time Savers and Life Savers". Marcia is the author of the What Really Works Handbooks resources for managers on the front line and the Power-by-the-Hour programs fast, convenient, real life, affordable courses for leadership and staff development. She is available for media interviews, conference presentations and panel discussions on the hottest issues affecting the workplace today. Contact Marcia at 800-971-7619.

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