Tag Archives: Human resources

Learning How To Learn What to Learn

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Last week, work was busy. Heck, I’m working retail during the holiday season, so it should be!

There was a rare afternoon semi-lull, however, and as is my responsibility as a manager, I did a couple rounds of the store to survey my surroundings to ensure my team was still productive. There were good things to report: every employee was engaged with customers, the store looked well organized and put together, and nothing really required my immediate attention. In fact, the store was running autonomously, which is my goal as a manager, right?

This moment of success birthed a rare conundrum for me: what the heck should I be doing now? Everything that needed to be stocked out had been. My back office stuff was already taken care of. My team was engaged with customers so it wouldn’t be smart to walk around distracting my employees with other conversations outside of their customers.

I eventually found some things that I could improve and shortly after that, more customers came in and I was once again needed on the floor. This caused me to internally evaluate myself, however: how do I identify areas within myself that need to improve? As a leader, I get direction every once in awhile from a superior on what to do better or more or what-not… but most of the time I am responsible for self-evaluating myself, performance, and overall being. This is an absolutely necessary ability and skill for an independent leader to hold.

Sometimes I find that I simply learn things about myself organically. Other times, events will happen around me and I’ll realize that I didn’t deal with them as well as I ought to have – so I should improve that respective skill. My question that I’d love some input on is: how have you grown your ability to self-evaluate yourself in order to figure out what to improve? Is this even happening? How have you encouraged this spirit of development in others around you?

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Filed under business, change management, leadership, observation

Recognizing and Perpetuating Success

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Ok… Last mention of Daniel Pink (Sorry guys- “Drive” is a really interesting book!)… He argues extrinsic motivation (pay, monetary incentives, etc…) doesn’t typically work over the long haul but intrinsic motivation does. However, I think there can be a way to merge both worlds.

Let’s say you are a manager in a store and you have just witnessed an employee, Sabrina, helping a customer very effectively. Sabrina is an employee who does a solid job but is not someone who necessarily leads others.

Old school extrinsic motivation reward: “Sabrina, I observed you helping that customer effectively. I want to give you a paid day off for helping that customer!” 

My suggested extrinsic/intrinsic reward: “Sabrina, I observed you helping that customer effectively. I want to let you know that your efforts, character, and performance are absolutely appreciated in this place and I am proud to have you on my team. You matter to us and I am proud of you. Here is a paid day off coupon to thank you for contributing to our company’s success in the way you do.”

In my suggestion, the reward is not an end to itself. Instead, it is in response to, not only a specific behavior that was performed, but also references Sabrina’s internal processes, her sense of self, character, and ultimately reinforces Sabrina’s sense of buy-in towards the company. Those latter characteristics are internal conventions that could certainly contribute to further intrinsic motivation – which Pink cites as being a powerful driving force in successul people.

Agree? Disagree? Do you have any experience in situations like this?

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Filed under motivation, observation