Respect is the best incentive

“The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say. It’s terribly important for everyone to get involved. Our best ideas come from clerks and stock boys.”

– Sam Walton

Carmine Gallo wrote an article for Business Week Magazine last month that is required reading for any manager:

“A Simple Employee Incentive”: Taking the time to give people your undivided attention can do more for retention and engagement than gift cards and other goodies.

I frequently hear business leaders say, “We listen to our customers. That is the key to our success.”

I rarely hear business leaders say, “We listen to our employees. We actively seek out and listen to their opinions.”

As a manager, do you maintain an “open door policy?” Most managers do. But what do you do when your staff pass through your open door?

  • Do you look up briefly, ask them what is on their mind and then … continue to read your e-mail?
  • Do you act annoyed that they just “dropped by” to talk?
  • Do you really care about what they have to say? If you don’t then why say, “My door is always open.”?

Here is a brief excerpt from Carmine Gallo’s article:

“When you’re face to face with a colleague, employee, or customer, and you check text messages or Blackberry e-mail, you’re communicating something—you are telling that person that whoever is on the other end of the message is the most important person in that conversation.

In your next conversation with one of your employees, try speaking as if he or she is the most important person in the room at the moment. Look him in the eye, avoid interruptions, ignore gadgets, and ask questions about his interests. It’s the simplest, least expensive, and most effective incentive available.”

Take Carmine’s advice to heart. Better yet… put it into practice today! Don’t tell people that you care… show them that you care about them. Give them your full, undivided attention. Respect is the best incentive.

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