Hang on to the Great Ones

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Karin Hurt spotted one just before Christmas. She described one sign of greatness in her post "What’s So Great About Shopping at Walmart?" She's describing a cashier.

"I stood watching for a while, and each customer she served left smiling."

Wow. Every organization wants people who can do that. Go to any big retail store and stand near the registers. You will see lots of cashiers who look like they're working in vertical coffins. You will not see many customers who leave smiling because of the way the cashier treated them.

There are great ones in every business, not just retail. They're the people who do good work and who also create a force field of positive energy that the people around them can tap. They may not be labeled "high potential" or ever get promoted, but you want to keep them.

I wrote about one of great ones five years ago in "A Paean to Porsha." Porsha was a fountain of high energy customer service in a store that was better known for ticking off customers than for making them smile. Within two months of the time I wrote about her, Porsha had moved on to something else.

I don't know where Porsha is now, but I'm betting that place is better off for it. If you wind up with a great one on your team, it's your job to hang on to him or her.

No, it's not top management's job. They'll take care of the salary and benefits and work policies, but those are all hygiene factors. If you're the boss, you're the one that makes the difference every day.

In some way's it's easy. You don't have to motivate the great ones. They show up motivated. But there are two things you shouldn't do and one thing you should to keep the magic going.

Don't take them for granted. It's easy to do that. It's easy to concentrate only on the problems because you don't have to worry about that great team member.

Don't overload them. They're likely to volunteer whenever you need extra help. They're likely to raise their hand when you've got a tough assignment. But if you keep piling stuff on they're likely to burn out and then you lose them, even if they're still on your payroll.

Do praise them. Just because they do good things all the time, doesn't mean you should quit noticing. The usual rules for praise apply, Praise soon. Praise specifics.

Boss's Bottom Line

Great team members can make the team better and your work easier. It's your job to t keep them enthusiastic and productive.

Wally's Working Supervisor's Support Kit is a collection of information and tools to help working supervisors do a better job. It's based on what Wally's learned in over twenty years of supervisory skills training. Click here to check it out.



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  • 1/3/2013 5:19 PM sarah wrote:
    Agreed we all want to be treated with respect. The person serving us is the mos timportant person.They will determine if I will continue to do business with that company. I do not know which Walmart you are shopping at but the ones that I ahve been to I just want to get away from the cashier as they are so miserable and I hear them talking to each other about something that they do not like about their employment. They are not shy about it either. I always say you do not go to Walmart for service it is the prices that attract people to shop there. therefore their is no expectation of service with a smile.
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  • 1/7/2013 11:39 PM Karin Hurt wrote:
    I love to talk with new hire classes... in fact it's my favorite thing. People start eager, excited and creative... the leaders job is to keep igniting that.
    Reply to this
    1. 1/8/2013 9:24 AM Wally Bock wrote:
      Good point, Karin. Thanks for sharing it.

      Reply to this
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