In the January/February 1991 issue of Child Care Information Exchange, it’s editor, Roger Neugebauer, wrote and published the article “12 Reasons People Love to Work for You.” In it, Neugebauer focuses on the practices of directors at childcare centers where teacher turnover is low. Based on his observations, he determined twelve practices you can implement to motivate people to remain in your employment.
Reason #2: You build on people’s strengths.
Perfection is an admirable goal, but it’s not very realistic. We will never find the perfect employee, friend, or even spouse, for that matter because we all have shortcomings. Certainly this includes employees, but when we hired them we did so because we noticed certain talents, experiences, and qualities which impressed us. We need to focus on and reinforce those strengths. Time spent developing people’s strengths is time well invested.
Of course, there will be occasions when we need to address behavioral problems like tardiness, dress code, or inappropriate discipline. However, focusing large amounts of energy on shortcomings will leave the employee feeling threatened with very little time and energy left for actual improvement. Success promotes success. It frees people of their insecurities and allows them to take the risks necessary to improve in other areas.
If we emphasize strengths and allow the employee to become more comfortable in the new role, develop relationships among team members, and become more familiar with the working environment, soon he/she will be ready to branch out and grow in exciting new ways. This approach also models the same nurturing, supportive environment we strive to provide for children each day. And shouldn’t we practice what we preach?