Up with morale
Neil, a general manager at a construction equipment auction house in Portland, Oregon, told session six of the Leadership Development Lab…
“The assignment we were given at session 3 of the Leadership Development Lab was to apply 5x More Enthusiasm to some task we had been procrastinating on or just seemed to be stuck. I had been struggling with personalities around the office and the unrest was getting worse. I needed to make some changes. I decided I would apply 5X More Enthusiasm without ever leaving my office desk. I applied my 5X sticker to my cell phone at the 5 o’clock mark as a reminder and I began to SMILE! Every morning as each employee came into work I would greet each person with a big smile and say, ‘Good morning!’ There is more than one way to say ‘Good morning.’ I forced myself to put joy, warmth, and a lift in my voice. I began every day being more aware of people walking by my door. I was quick to get my head up and energetically project a big smile while announcing, ‘Good morning!’
“The results have been amazing. It was priceless to see their reactions which ranged from disoriented confusion, a somewhat shocked expression, to the inevitable smile that came to their faces. As the month rolled by I began to notice a big change around the office. Now as each person comes in I can see them slow their pace as they pass my office almost needing, at least waiting for my genuine smile and warm good morning to help us all get our day off to a good start.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is that my smiles are free to give and in some ways are more valuable than any paycheck can be.
“The ‘auction’ I call you to take is SMILE. Smile and say ‘Hello’ to everyone you see at work today. I promise it will give everyone who sees you a lift and what is amazing and true is you will get a lift too.
“The benefit you will gain is finding yourself happier and more productive during the workday. Plus, the people around you will be happier. Morale will go up with all the attending benefits of improved productivity, less drama, and your customers will be happier too.”
With the rise of the quality movement about 25 years ago I began studying two management books a month. I must say they long ago became pretty redundant with each author inventing terms and theories to somehow make their ideas seem new and different. Many of these books seem to be presenting a more complicated theory, maxim, philosophy than the last. Could it be that what we need to do as leaders is to take a genuine interest in our people and show it with a warm, sincere smile? It worked for Neil. I’ll bet it can work for you.