A Guest Post by Noah Rue
The Power of Sharing Success
It’s a well-known fact that positive reinforcement is better than negative reinforcement, whether you’re talking about raising children, teaching students, or encouraging workers. To take the last one, in particular, studies have shown that positive reinforcement is good not just for motivating employees, but for maintaining a strong employer-employee relationship — a critical factor in the long-term success of a workplace.
And yet, for all of the studies and proofs, most companies don’t make an effort to emphasize the good. Sure, they might make an effort to remove classic negative reinforcements like shame and punishments, but they often leave it at that.
If you oversee or work in a company that is lacking in proactively positive reinforcement, here are a few considerations for why you should be going above and beyond to utilize the power of sharing positive success stories within your company.
As a leader, it’s important to remember that the brain is a social organ, and as such, it will atrophy if it is cut off from social interaction. In other words, if as a leader, you spend your days in cooped up, unreachable confinement, you will end up cornering yourself into a disconnected, Ebeneezer Scrooge-like situation. This disengaged atmosphere will cut you off from your employees and prevent you from genuinely relating to those that you work with.
Why does relating to your employees matter? Because a lack of relationship can have detrimental effects on both your employees and yourself. It can lead to division, miscommunication, and a lack of enthusiasm amongst the rank and file.
If, however, you choose to demonstrate empathy and emotional intelligence with others through collectively participating in success, it can help you not only relate but authentically resonate with your coworkers and staff.
In other words, by broadcasting organizational success to a company, department, or individual team, you can help those around you to truly relate to what you’re trying to accomplish — a fact that will directly lead to a more unified team in the process.
Focusing on Transformational Leadership
While the “taskmaster” approach may have worked for bosses in the past, both managers and HR personnel in the 21st-century must take a more sociable approach to leadership if they want to connect with their predominantly Millennial and Gen Z workforces.
This has required a pivot into transformational leadership, a model that focuses on using communication and collaboration to motivate a workforce towards goals that align with an organization’s objectives.
This concept of transformational leadership involves setting moral standards, building a strong workplace culture, and valuing authentic communication — all of which can be facilitated and reinforced through sharing success.
For example, say your organization sets a company-wide goal of eliminating waste by going paperless by 2022. This directive may sound good on the surface to your passion and purpose-driven Millennial workforce when you announce the new policy. However, the shine of your organizational efforts will quickly wear off in the weeks and months following the announcement. However, if you take the time to set up goals in your effort and then share the success as you reach each milestone, you’ll be able to regularly inspire your workforce through the positive message of success.
The news that you’ve actually found success as an organization in a way that matters to your employees can help to bring them together and encourage them to invest and collaborate together towards your company’s future.
This regular sharing of success can also open up two-way communication that can help those who may have remained quiet and side-lined to feel emboldened to express themselves and find their voice in the workplace. And, of course, if employees feel empowered to express themselves, they’ll be encouraged to invest themselves more wholeheartedly into their professional efforts.
Finally, sharing success can show that you value your employees. Success is sacred news, and demonstrating that you care enough to inform your employees of the fruits of their collective labor can be an excellent way to show them that you value and are invested in every member of your company.
This, in turn, will once again encourage engagement and investment in your organization as a whole. Sharing genuine success, whether it be in the form of profits, internal improvements, or corporate social responsibility initiatives, will serve as a perfect springboard from which your employees can join in on the action with an expectation that they will be able to actually have an impact on something that matters.
A reticent boss creates a workspace that is void of passion, stripped of energy, and likely to suffer from low retention, high turnover, and general dissatisfaction.
However, a leader who is willing to share success with their employees will demonstrate a degree of social leadership that encouraged involvement and collaboration. It is a leadership model that acknowledges the efforts of others and infuses an entire organization with confidence and self-pride that are rooted in the fact that they know their efforts can and will make a difference.