Other People Matter – Encourage Their Hearts


These days we talk about employee engagement a lot. In my experience, the most powerful employee engaging factor is how we make our employees feel when they work for and with us. Many workplaces seem like sweat houses where workers are expected to turn up for work, toil till they drop, and then go home to come again the next day to repeat the ordeal – where the person inside the worker does not matter as long as work is done.

My favourite professor, the late Chris Peterson, often reminded us that all of positive psychology can be summarised in three words – other people matter.


A beautiful young businesswoman image courtesy stockvault159566

Do we make others feel that they matter? How are we behaving that they feel that they don’t matter? James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner advocate that leaders pay heed to ‘encouraging the heart’ of their people – ‘leaders keep hope alive when they set high standards and genuinely express optimism about an individual’s capacity to achieve them’. The key to engaged employees is in our hands as leaders.

It is a basic human need to be appreciated for who we are and what we do.

Often, I am asked by leaders to find out whether they have the wrong people in their organisations or something can be done to change their people’s work attitude and/or mindsets; or run workshops to motivate and inspire greater engagement.

So far, no leader has volunteered to participate in a self-discovery exercise to find out what he needs to do, to initiate positive change and workplace culture transformation. To be fair, some would acquiesce to self-scrutiny, although most would be appalled at the audacity of such a request – after all, they reached the top being who they are. I have no qualms in straightening out the delusions of the vehemently self-righteous ones, and respectfully decline such assignments which raise hope in employees that can never be fulfilled.


Enlightened leaders who encourage their people’s hearts and let them know they matter, do a few things well. These changes are not cost items as they are behavioural in nature. In fact, these simple gestures improve performance on delivery and bottomline numbers. Here are a couple of strategies to kick off your positive transformation intervention aka employment engagement enhancement project:

Appreciation and Approval

It is a basic human need to be appreciated for who we are and what we do.

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