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Acknowledge employees feelings and experiences

Another post in my series on Self Determination Theory, where I take the model and the underlying research and build out a set of behaviours or actions anyone can take to help those around you self motivate. This post is around how you acknowledge employees feelings and experiences. Drawing on input from some amazing thinkers and leaders check out the following

First you need to pay attention to your employees!

Look for cues in what they say: word choice – details/focus, personal/objective POV, positive/negative; quality of voice – volume, pitch, tone, and emoting etc., and

How they look: face – upper: eyes/brows; lower: mouth/nose; body – shoulders, arms, hands, posture, gestures, movements; spatial – distance, leaning; facing; touching.

Finally how is the employee overall? Engaged/preoccupied/focused/avoiding; What changed? What is out of place?

Now you've identified there are feelings to acknowledge you can express yourself one or more of these ways

  • Tell them you think their feelings are valid

  • Let them know you're interested in understanding more about the situation

  • That they have your full attention and if appropriate, that you want to help

Phrases such as, "I'm sorry to hear that this happened', "Thanks for trusting me with this" or, " That sounds really challenging" all show empathy, build trust and let the employee know they are being heard. This practice takes two seconds to use and has a disproportionate impact. Try it and let me know how you get on!

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