“The only easy day was yesterday!”
There have been several movies recently about the Navy Seals and the raid on Osama bin Laden ( Zero-Dark Thirty and Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden) as well as numerous magazine and newspaper articles. The movies stirred up a lot of controversy for alleged breaches of confidential information as well as certain inaccuracies.
But what cannot be denied is just how different a Navy Seal is from the average individual serving in the military. These are the elite of the elite, the top 1/10th of 1 percent. And if you have ever spoken with a member of the Navy Seals, then you quickly realise they are different from the rest of us, not just in their physical fitness and mission readiness, but also in the way they think and behave.
Navy Seals don’t require external recognition or appreciation. They don’t need to be told they are doing a good job. These men have a different psychological make-up. The job is the reward. Self-respect is the motivation. The mission is the motivation. The team is the motivation. Their drive and motivation is internally induced, not external. The world of the Navy Seal is a very special, one-off world and this is the type of psychological make-up required for success, and survival.
Then there are the rest of us; the “normal” people, who, especially in the work environment, are more motivated and perform better with external appreciation and recognition.
Numerous studies by the Gallop Group and several universities and consulting firms all point to the business benefits of employee recognition and appreciation.
- Increased individual productivity – the act of recognizing desired behavior increases the repetition of the desired behavior, and therefore productivity. This is classic behavioral psychology.
- Greater employee satisfaction and enjoyment of work – more time spent focusing on the job and less time complaining.
- Direct performance feedback for individuals and teams is provided.
- Higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers.
- Teamwork between employees is enhanced.
- Retention of quality employees increases – lower employee turnover.
- Better safety records and fewer accidents on the job.
- Lower negative effects such as absenteeism and stress.
Yet I often hear senior executives react in the following ways: “We will recognize and appreciate that team when the task is over. It’s too early in the game to give appreciation; they haven’t accomplished much yet.” Or this statement: “If we give them recognition now they will just slack off!”
Leadership lesson: Your employees are NOT Navy Seals.
They are real people like you and me and recognition for effort and ideas along the way, is motivational. In many work environments where employees are distanced from the “mission” or “purpose” of the business or distanced from the actual customer or end-user, recognition and appreciation is a critical part of the performance and productivity equation.
Unless you have been hiring only former Navy Seals, I suggest you review your beliefs about employee appreciation and recognition.
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress