27th April 2017

Feel good

Do your team feel good about doing a good job? It is a fairly straightforward question but like many a coaching question it is deeper and more complex than you might have at first realised.

What is a good job? How do you define it? How does the team define it? How does the individual define it? How does the business define it?  The chances are that the answers to all of these questions will be different, and if so you have a leadership challenge and a lack of alignment. There is also a strong possibility that neither you, nor the team nor the business will have stopped to define what a good job is. In which case, you also have a leadership opportunity to create alignment.

Assuming that you have put the time and effort into knowing and understanding what a good job is. What is your strategy for helping your team to feel good when they have done a good job? It probably won’t happen by accident and if they don’t feel good after having done a good job why would they strive to perform at that level again? So, do you have a strategy to accomplish this?

As bosses, we have an uncanny knack for missing the dozens of great things our colleagues do every day whilst at the same time managing to chew them out for every little thing they happen to get not quite right. It would be good to have a series of strategies to consciously help our colleagues feel good when they have done a good job.

That would necessarily mean helping them know when they have done a good job, which means being very clear about the expectations, here having a clear and unambiguous scoreboard always helps. Noticing and celebrating when a good job occurs is important too. Imagine someone has played a blinder today; They notice it, perhaps the team notices it too but the boss fails to notice it, how motivated do you think they will be tomorrow to perform to the same level? Everyone wants to be noticed, to feel important and if performing well doesn’t get the boss’s attention, well perhaps screwing up will. Screwing up is generally guaranteed to get the boss’s attention.

Having all the metrics, expectations and scoreboards in place and failing to notice, failing to celebrate and failing to help the people feel good is probably worse than not having the expectations in place at all.

Many years ago, working for a business, I used a phrase, probably way too often, that went ‘working hard for this company is like wetting yourself in a dark suit. It gives you a nice warm feeling but nobody notices.’. Does that describe how your people feel? Because to extend the metaphor that nice warm feeling very quickly becomes cold and uncomfortable and one that we don’t want to repeat.

Leading people isn’t easy, but it is easy to help people to feel good when they have done good work. The other truth is that by helping others to feel good, you can’t help but to feel good yourself.