4 Actions to Build Commitment on Your Team

By Suzie Price

Studies reveal that you can help people reach their potential and perform at their best by: becoming a great listener, being someone who focuses on strengths and sharing your appreciation of others, often. (Short on time? Go to the four 'can't miss' action steps here.)

Listening, focusing on strengths and sharing appreciation are key guidelines at Speaking Circles, classes I've participated in, off and on, since 2014.  In these classes the guidelines are simple: listen to and be fully present with each speaker.

Participants also share appreciative acceptance feedback for each speaker's participation. There's no feedback about content or improvement suggestions in this class. All feedback is focused on what is working.

It's amazing to watch others, including myself, blossom when they are fully listened to and sincerely appreciated in these Speaking Circles.

When Was the Last Time...?

When is the last time someone intently listened to you with no agenda?  (Other than your dog?) Have you had anyone not only listen but, when you finished talking, they didn't correct you or give you advice - they only appreciated you and talked to you about your strengths? Sadly, this kind of listening and appreciation is NOT very common in most of our daily lives, especially at work.

And, when was the last time you GAVE the gift of positive listening and appreciation to the people who work for you and with you? To your clients?  To your family members and your friends?
 
Making The Case: Positive Feedback Nurtures Growth

Study after study indicate that almost 65% of the workforce receives little to no recognition. 

When I first participated in the Speaking Circles I was a little surprised by how good it felt to be intently listened to and to receive positive feedback, as I probably get more daily feedback than most because its built into my work as a Consultant.  

Even though I get more recognition than 65% of the workforce, the process of positive feedback in Speaking Circles has helped me become a better speaker and consultant. 

  • According to Lee Glickstein, the founder of the Speaking Circles, "Positive feedback nurtures growth."  
  • Gallup surveyed 10,000 business units in 30+ industries and they found that employees who received regular recognition and praise are: more committed to their work, have higher productivity, are more loyal to their company and their customers and they have better safety records and less accidents.
  • In the Hurlock Study groups of fourth and fifth grade students were either publicly praised or criticized for their work.  Both sets of students (the "praised" and "criticized") did a little better after the first day of public feedback. But in the succeeding days, the "praised" group showed much stronger improvement than the "criticized" group. The "praised" students improved by 71%, the "criticized" group improved by just 19%.
  • Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, shares in her book, Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals The 3 to1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life, that positive emotions fuel resilience and can transform people, broaden thinking, break down racial barriers and produce optimal functioning in organizations and individuals.
  • World-renowned Executive Coach and Author of 32 books, Marshall Goldsmith, agrees with Glickstein.  He shares, "Good mentors do not listen passively; they listen dramatically, When people feel heard they feel valued. Feeling valued, they are more likely to take risks."

Four 'Can't Miss' Actions...

Here are four actions you can take to nurture growth, create a positive attitude in the workplace and build productivity and commitment on your team:

  1. Find Out How You're Doing.  Get feedback in the format of a 360 FeedbackReport or through the Feed Forward process.  Ask the people who matter most how about how well you listen and if they feel appreciated and valued.
  2. Learn to Listen Without An Agenda. Tools that can help you become a better listener include: learning to listen aggressively, make sure you don't have negative listening habits by completing a simple quiz,  consider attending a Speaking Circle and listen to this Podcast with a Speaking Circle Facilitator about Relational Presence.
  3. Apply the 'Magic' Ratio to Every Relationship.  Studies tell us that there is a magic 'positive feedback to constructive correction' ratio for more effective and healthy working relationships.  The tested formula is 3:1 (3 positives to every 1 corrective) for working relationships and 5:1 (positive: corrective) for personal relationships.
  4. Learn More Specifically About Your and Your Employee's Strengths. I use a powerful assessment process in coaching and in workshops that fully outlines strengths, as well as blind spots. (Yes, talking about development needs matter, it's just that sometimes the balance is skewed strongly in the workplace around development needs, and not enough attention is given to strengths. My comments here are intended to balance that out a bit.)

 Nurture positive growth in others. Look for their good. 
Advocate for their potential.  
Help everyone around you become more of who they really
are and they will glow with appreciation and perform beyond their limits.
 
Create a positive attitude in the workplace by listening, 
appreciating and focusing on strengths!

This blog was reprinted with permission from Suzie Price.