By Steven M. Baule, CIO Advisor
Recently, one of my colleagues was discussing the drama in her office when she had a strong, long-term employee move on to another job. She was concerned that the woman left in part because she didn’t feel appreciated. My colleague is already on the second replacement and that person isn’t really setting the world on fire. She had let the first replacement go and now was complaining that although there are many people out of work, finding good help seems difficult.
The conversation made me flash back to one of the really basic things I remember from the service. On the bulletin board full of required postings, notices and other stuff no one ever really reads was a posted that stated:“Ignore your soldiers and they will go away.” I found that to be exceptional advice.
As a leader, it is important to make sure your staff know that they are appreciated and valued. Take time to tell them. Each leader needs to find a method that works for him or her and feels natural. Make sure that whatever method you use is sincere. Insincere praise can often backfire and cause more problems. I know superintendents that hand-write notes to staff members if they see something noteworthy. Some supervisors take their staff to lunch or bring in pizza. Others send e-mails to praise. Some, with the appropriate skills, bake cookies for their staff. Tweeting about staff accomplishments is another option. It isn’t really important how you show your appreciation, but it is essential that you do. Otherwise, you can simply ignore your employees and they will go away. I saw that on a bulletin board once.
Steven M. Baule is superintendent of North Boone CUSD 200 in Poplar Grove, IL. He has written several books on aspects of library and technology management and planning. Follow North Boone on Twitter @NBCUSD200.