So this happened;
I’m touring a workplace right before a coaching session with an executive team, and the manager showing me around introduces me to someone he describes as “one of my lead people, a star.”
After a short conversation, and as we walk away, leaving his star behind us, the manager starts to tell me a story about the feedback he had received from a customer about that star — glowing feedback, the kind of story you wish for every single day in a business, multiplied by every single employee you have, and with internal and external customers alike. An Aloha Spirit story.
As he ended his story-telling with me, I asked, “Did you tell him [the star] what the customer said, and what it meant to you, like you’re telling me now?” and he replied, “Uh no, come to think of it, I haven’t, and I really need to let him know, and thank him.”
My dear managers, I cannot tell you how many times something similar happens when I tour workplaces, a frequent opportunity and normal part of what I do as a Managing with Aloha culture coach. Well, I guess I can tell you about it, but the point is that I don’t want to — I shouldn’t have to bring it up, and this posting should be totally unnecessary, because you have made it a habit of your management style, to catch your people doing something good, or something right, or something important, or something inspiring, and you tell them, and you thank them: Management Style by Habit.
It’s great that I hear these stories, it really is, but I’m an extra conversation about them — the employees who are your key partners, and most important people in your workplace, are the ones who need to hear them. They need to hear how their actions positively play out, and they need to hear these stories about their peers as well, because You are being a workplace Aloha champion.
This is what those things we call ‘managing by walking around’ and ‘face to face encounters with our customers’ are for: Go on the hunt for good and elevate it. Seize every single opportunity you have to catch the good your people, your peers, and all your partnerships do, and never, ever, EVER take them for granted, feeling, “well, that’s their job, isn’t it?” To be clear, this particular manager did not say that in this instance, but it has come up before, or is communicated to me in a shrug of the shoulders which brushes off my suggestion, “Please, do tell him.” conveying to me that it probably won’t happen.
I know that there are a lot of good stories collected by managers, because they do make a point of telling employees about them as the ‘easy part’ of annual appraisals and performance reviews. But folks, why wait? Why not tell them right away — which is much, much more effective in encouraging the behaviors you want repeated — and why not do both, telling them right away, and then bringing it up again in their appraisal? Why not add these stories to your company history?: Collect Stories, Dispel Myths.
To this manager’s credit, he did something I’ve never had happen before. He asked me, “Would you excuse me for a minute, for I’d really like to tell him right now.” I didn’t feel slighted at all — I felt like a coach who was immediately acknowledged and listened to! — and I waited for him: It took less than a minute, and I watched that employee break into the biggest smile, his whole persona seeming to elevate as he went back to work, walking on air, and quite likely intent on doing more good, and doing it even better next time.
Then what did I do? I told the manager how great he had made me feel as a then-impromptu coach. I told him how pleased I was, and how proud I was of him, for it was my turn to catch him doing something exceptionally right, something wonderfully good, something critically important, and something incredibly inspiring.
Archive Aloha with related reading:
- You are Your Habits, so Make ‘em Good!
- Hana ‘eleau: Working in the Dark
- Managing Basics: Study Their Work and Managing: Be a Big Fan of the Small Win
- The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Parts
- Role Reconstruction: Design your Sweet Spot as Manager
For more reading paths, go to New Here? or click on the tags found in the footer.
A Manager’s Calling: What do the truly great managers of our world believe in?
There are managers, and then there are great managers.
The great ones, are those we call Alaka‘i Managers in Managing with Aloha: They manage because they have a calling to do so, and that calling is to elevate the human condition, particularly in that sphere of influence we call the workplace. That is where they choose to lead as well, Leading with Aloha.
It is extremely exciting to see those lights of recognition and renewal go on in managers’ eyes when they realize that the hard work of management can evolve into the gift of a calling in their lives. Catching glimpse of those mālamalama lights is one of the best things I experience in my work as a coach… Read more: A Manager’s Calling: The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers.