Much to my son’s and my pleasure, the Dallas Mavericks are leading the Miami Heat three games to two. We’re both Celtics fans, but we hate the Heat because they eliminated our team with their Big Three of Bosh, James, and Wade.
I have been hearing about the Maverick’s success on NPR and other news outlets, which attribute it to…touching. That’s right, the team from Dallas touches each other with high-fives and butt taps. This proves that constant congratulations, even when their teammates miss a free throw, have a positive effect.
The same holds true in the workplace. Attaboys and attagirls raise morale and increases productivity. I know this to be the case because three years ago the management team surprised the employees with a round of appreciation for all of us. They awarded us with praise during a staff meeting. My manager told the staff “Bob will fight for every one of his customers.” I was flattered and the high from her comment lasted at least a week.
So why doesn’t this happen at more companies? It’s a known fact that employees feel more appreciated with a pat on the back than with a raise. We enjoy being complimented for a job well done, and this encourages us to try harder, do better. Money doesn’t have the same effect.
When people contemplate how teachers, for instance, can increase their performance, it’s not raises that do the trick. Teachers argue that their creativity being taken from them for the sake of raising test scores, larger and unmanageable classes, and lack of administrative and parental support, are the reasons for decreased performance.
Professionals in other fields talk about harsh management and even bullying as major reasons for wanting to move on or quit. Members of the LinkedIn community constantly bring up questions about effective management. The answers they receive include vision, fairness, consistency, empowerment, et cetera. In other words, what our children look for in their parents.
It comes to no surprise that the Dallas Mavericks are prevailing over the Big Three due to their touchy-feely approach to the games. We are fortunate when the people who rely on us to do our jobs show us appreciation, so why wouldn’t a professional basketball team raise its performance when they have the support from each other.
I’m fortunate to work with positive colleagues who are encouraged by fair and consistent management. But I think I’ll refrain from touching my co-workers’ butt.