For years I’ve asked people, “What’s the good word today?” My intention always was to get people thinking about something positive, and if they were thinking something positive, to share it with me so I could benefit too. Unfortunately far too often people can’t come up with a good word, or in many cases, a word at all.
Hearing negative feedback isn’t easy, especially for first-time managers who don’t yet have the experience to resolve a variety of problems. Still, as a manager and leader, you need to get people talking, even if the conversation isn’t always positive. Open, honest communication engages employees.
So be honest with yourself: Are your employees talking about and thinking about what’s important at work? Are they focused on the things that will help you reach your objectives? Do they even know what they should be focused on? If not, why not? It’s your job to create the conversation that will best move your team and organization forward, so get them talking with this exercise:
- Determine the most pressing and important issue, challenge or goal your team and organization is facing.
- Draft your “word (or message) of the day” around that issue.
- Communicate and share that message multiple times a day with your employees, and encourage them to offer their own ideas, feedback and concerns.
When you follow those steps, you tell employees what they need to care most about, and you engage them in discussing how to reach the team’s and organization’s goals.
Are employees falling short of expectations? Check out this video to learn how to bridge the gap between your goals for employees and their performance: