When you’re a leader, it can be difficult to understand what it takes to keep your employees motivated, engaged in their jobs, happy, and productive. While many leaders think that you’ve got to spend money on expensive rewards and recognition programs to keep your employees’ spirits up, research shows that this is not really the case at all. In fact, the most effective rewards cost little or no money at all.
According to experts in employee engagement, what leaders say to their people has a huge impact on how they feel about their jobs, and ultimately, in their performance. Here are 5 things every leader should tell his or her employees every day. Start saying these things regularly, and the results might surprise you.
1. “Thank you.”
When you’re a boss, one of the easiest things to forget is to show gratitude to the people who work with you. Saying “thank you” shows your sincere appreciation for your employees, while making them feel proud of the work they do.
2. “What can I do to help?”
One of the best things a boss can do is to ask their employees if there’s something they can do to help. Most people are afraid to let their boss know they are overwhelmed with work or confused about a task, so they don’t say anything about the difficulties they’re facing. When leaders ask their people what they can do to help, they diffuse this fear—encouraging employees to speak up.
3. “Don’t worry about it.”
When employees have a lot going on, they definitely appreciate having a boss who recognizes which projects are truly important and deserve the most attention—and which ones don’t. When team members feel that their boss isn’t willing to occasionally let little things go, they’re more likely to stress out and feel negatively about their work.
4. “I trust you.”
One of the most powerful things in the world is having a boss, leader, or mentor tell you that they trust you enough to do your own work without looking over your shoulder all the time. In a world full of micromanagers, employees feel incredibly empowered when their managers say they trust them. These three simple words are often enough to motivate employees to do a much better job than normal.
5. “I always have time for you.”
It can be very discouraging when your boss is too busy to acknowledge your existence. When leaders give employees their active support, space, and time, people are much happier and more engaged, and they want to do a better job.