Venture capitalist Mark Suster put it best when he said, “All business is built upon human relationships.” While more business is being done electronically, it is emails, telephone calls, and good old fashioned meetings between two people that drive business. To CEOs, talking with other companies and getting business is crucial, but the most important relationships to maintain are the ones inside of the company. The more communication between CEOs and their employees, the better the relationship the better they’ll be at their job. Here are 7 things that successful CEOs tell their employees every day.
1. "Good job on X, Y, and Z."
A worthy CEO knows what projects are being worked on and where the credit is due. Praise is one of the top 3 motivators employees like to see in a CEO, and hearing from their leader means that what they are doing really does matter to the company. When a CEO makes an effort to find out what employees are working on, it makes the CEO more involved in the company which, in turn, helps him to figure out how to best push the company to where he wants it to be.
2. "I trust you."
Successful CEOs find people they can trust and surround themselves with employees who can best represent the company. Steve Tobak of Inc.com says respectable leaders keep people accountable for work and prove it by trusting them to do an excellent job. As evidenced by a report from CEO.com on how employees and executives view their CEOs, 54% say that micromanaging has been an issue in the past. With trust, employees are free to be confident in their work and are able to produce above average results.
3. "Do you have any questions or thoughts?"
Feedback from employees can be intimidating on both sides. CEOs want to make sure their plan is getting across while employees don’t want to accidentally upset their boss. Providing feedback will feel more like a conversation rather than an interrogation when regular dialogue between the CEO and his employees becomes more habitual. Jacqueline Hinman, CEO of a Fortune 500 engineering company, says successful CEOs go out of their way to learn the truth, and often the people who know the real truth are employees who aren’t asked much.
4. Saying "We" instead of "I" in converstion.
Human pride can be a tricky thing to overcome, especially for CEOs. CEOs have been successful when running a business by taking personal credit for accomplishments and achievements that were a group effort. This can really rub employees the wrong way. By simply changing the word “I” to “we”, employees start to feel like they are a part of something bigger and more important. This also makes employees feel like a teammate who is an equal partner rather than an underling who has no say.
5. "Our company accomplished..."
The caricature of the boss always yelling at employees and never praising them can be successful in a rom-com where the hero gets the last laugh, but it is almost never successful in real life. According to CEO.com, about one-sixth of employees have the attitude that CEOs either “always focus on the positives” or “never mention positives”, a scary statistic showing the caricature has its roots somewhere. By telling your employees about what your company has done right, it inspires confidence and provides examples of where the company wants to go.
6. "This is our vision."
Along with praise and incentives, sharing company vision is one of the top three incentives that employees like to see from their CEOs. Bill Warren, founder of Online Career Center (OCC), the first internet employment site, and once president of Monster.com, says that having a vision occasionally means going against the status quo or trying something no one else has before. Not every person will agree with you, but by communicating this vision to your employees, you can be sure that the people who are with you believe in you.
In the report done by CEO.com, less than 1% of employees reported daily communication from their CEO, and this group was made up of 30% executives. Employees generally like their CEOs, but one complaint they do have is lack of communication from them. By talking to your employees as often as you can, even if it’s an email or company-only blog talking about the company, the most successful CEOs keep in touch for the people that work for them.
Whether it’s walking through the halls shooting the breeze or even a daily email reminder through-out the company, employees want to get to know who they are working for. It is hard to be motivated to work for a person you only know as the person with the biggest office or the best parking space. Regular communication can be a tough thing to remember with so many other duties, but getting to know who is really making the company run can be as beneficial to you as it is to them. Think of it as investing in your workers, and you’ll see the change it makes.
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