Have you ever felt like your life partner, kids, siblings or boss don’t seem to notice you anymore? Sure, they still interact, but they don’t seem to really notice you. You make an extra effort to look nice or be nice to your partner and they don’t even seem to notice, you make a wonderful meal from scratch for the family and they just wolf it down without a word? You put in an extra special effort at work and the boss lets it pass without comment?
If you have ever experienced any of these situations you know exactly what I am talking about. Usually we just move on knowing the offenders are busy and that they do in fact appreciate us, but over time, too many oversights can seriously harm a relationship.
In the workplace, many leaders tend to focus on fixing the problems – situational problems as well as problem employees. Many times, the worst employees – the ones causing problems and setting a bad example for the rest of the team – are getting the most attention from the leader and consume most of their energy. As a result, celebrating the amazing work of the best on their team does not happen enough, leading to declining performance all-around. At its worst, this scenario can lead to resignations as the great people are attracted to places where they think they will be more appreciated.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the advisable thing to do is limit the time and energy you spend on your problem employees and seriously increase the amount of time and energy you spend on your best. In my experience, this both increases the morale of the best employees and it transforms the vibe in the workplace. When ignored, attention-hungry, underperforming employees will often leave and go somewhere else where they will get attention by causing problems. Or they just might get in line and start creating positive results in your workplace.
As leaders, our motto needs to be: “If you want to get the best from me, I need to see the best from you.”