Self Esteem

I first learned about the power of self esteem in the United States Air Force. Many years ago I worked on the F-4 Phantom Jet. We sold some to Israel and the Israeli pilots were able to do maneuvers that the plane was not designed to do. We sent a delegation over to Israel to examine the planes to see what modifications were made to the plane to make them do those types of maneuvers. The delegation found no major modifications to the plane but they did find that their pilots were treated like royalty. Everywhere they went they received the red carpet treatment.

It's known that a person will perform no higher than their level of self esteem. The self esteem of those pilots was very high so they performed at that level. It wasn't the modifications to the plane that allowed it to fly like it did but a modification to the pilots.

So here is how managers and leaders can use this knowledge in corporate America to create a super powered work-force.

  1. Don't destroy the self esteem of your employees. When you are tempted to publicly scold, chastise, correct, rebuke or yell at an employee you must at all costs resist that temptation. When you humiliate a person you lower their self esteem and you have just lowered their productivity because people will only perform at their level of self esteem. Take them in your office and privately scold them but always end your meeting with acknowledging some of the good points in that employee so they can lift their heads up when leaving you office. Whatever happens in your interaction you must remember that you want to build the self esteem to increase productivity. If you don't do that as the last thing you talk about before they leave your office they will be grumbling about what a prick you are and you will get minimal productivity out of them and that will happen only when you are around.
  2. Always be on the lookout for the good work done by your employees and don't let it go unnoticed. When you compliment someones work they stand a little taller and their self esteem is boosted just a little bit which will increase productivity. That voice in their head will say, "Wow so they do notice the good work I do. I didn't think anybody cared. I didn't even see my boss around and he was watching me and noticed I am a good worker." Also the results will include good work when you are not around and not just while you are standing there. That's what you want is to get employees to do good work when not being watched.

Reminds me of a comic strip I saw. There was a man seated at his desk and the boss was standing in front of the employees desk shouting while asking the question;

Boss: John why aren't you working?!!

John: Because I didn't see you coming.

Having employees working while they don't know you are looking and you are not around is a leaders dream and can be achieved with the two steps listed above. Good luck!

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