Most people just want to be appreciated. If you're a manager, that's something to seriously think about as you set tone for maximum productivity.
Ever work for someone who preferred a 'bullying and intimidation' managerial style? This type of bullying doesn't involve spitballs and shiners in schoolyard, but it might as well because it produces same feelings of inferiority, worthlessness and mistrust among peers. It turns workers disloyal, dishonest, and downright disgusted. The bullying managerial style is way out of fashion, and for a reason: it doesn't work! What DOES work? Positive reinforcement. Why? When you reward your workers, they perform better.
Ever notice how every big company works in 'teams' these days? The notion of corporate team model was dreamed up by someone who realized that all folks really want is to be appreciated for their talent and ability. If you team up four or five well-selected people, each with a unique, highly-developed skill; cheer them on and reward them for all their accomplishments... what you're going to get is some jacked-up productivity and a stellar team that will follow you to ends of earth.
What are some ways to let your team members know how much they're valued; and in doing so, spur them on to success?
Accentuate positive. Is there a way that you can put a positive spin on a negative criticism? As a manager, this is such an important skill. Let's say writer you recently brought on board isn't 'catching on' to company's prescribed way of creating headlines. You may feel frustrated and tempted to chastise this person, but what will a thoughtless reprimand do for her productivity in long run? Instead, soften your critique and infuse it with a positive message, maybe something like, "You did a great job catching all of those typos but I'd love for you to give me a couple more headline options before we hand this in." Tread lightly on those fragile young egos; pride is such a delicate thing!
Open lines of communication. As a manager, you're busy dealing with people on outside, which means you may not always be aware of what goes on behind scenes. Encourage group discussions where your workers can air their grievances. When there's a conflict, let your employees hash it out while you act as calm and rational mediator. Sometimes all it takes is a few words hitting air to clear up a misunderstanding. If you give your people a little more control and benefit of doubt, they'll feel appreciated, depended on, and willing to go that extra mile.
Always play fair. A biased judge can't make objective decisions for good of group. You may feel more personally connected to one team member over another, but how is that relevant to job at hand? It isn't! Just because you were chumming around on golf course with Chad last week doesn't mean his poor performance should go unnoticed at review time. And even though Nerdy Nancy says things at lunch that make you cringe, it doesn't give you right to criticize her on job when she's doing everything correctly. If you show favoritism, your workers WILL notice... and this will make them feel EXTREMELY unappreciated. So play fair, coach!