How to Get More of the Behaviors You Want From Employees

One of THE most important skills a manager can have is the ability to clearly communicate to employees  what constitutes High Value Behaviors–i.e., behaviors that:

  1. Contribute the most to your organization’s overall success
  2. Help your organization achieve specific goals and initiatives–such as becoming more patient-centric, supporting your rebranding effort, or becoming more of a “WE Culture” (vs. a “ME Culture”)
  3. Enable that employee’s position–e.g. Customer Service Professional–to provide the greatest economic value to your organization

You can do this my sharing examples of employees demonstrating those behaviors–or what I call Sharing Stories of Awesome.

Ritz Carlton is legendary for doing this. In their daily huddles with their team, managers share “Wow Stories” that demonstrate Ritz Carlton employees Wow-ing guests.

When you share stories that explicitly illustrate employees being awesome, you unleash the engagement-enhancing and culture-strengthening benefits of sharing these kinds of stories.

When you share these stories you:

  1. Make it crystal clear what excellence looks like.
  2. Show you notice when employees perform with excellence; you show that it matters.
  3. Make it clear what values-in-action and behaviors you value…and how strongly you value them.
  4. Show that you appreciate excellence; you appreciate people going the extra mile; and that you never take these things for granted.

Here’s an example of doing this from a recent presentation I made. I was SO appreciative of, and thankful for my two contact people–Mindy and Jonathan–for how easy to work with they were.

Unlike many people I’ve dealt with over the years, they clearly cared about doing their part to help me do my part well.

They modeled what great managers do.

Great managers do everything in their power to help their employees do great work.

They don’t let their poor planning become their employees’ crisis. They are conscientious in following-up rather than letting the person wonder if their non-response is due to not getting the email or voice mail, or that they forgot, or that they just haven’t gotten to it yet.

In this 6 minute audio clip from the opening of my presentation, you will hear me share the story with the audience (the equivalent of Sharing a Story of Awesome with all employees) as a way to not just thank Mindy and Jonathan in public, but also to provide a concrete example to the audience of behaviors that THEY can engage in that foster employee engagement (which was the topic of the seminar).

BTW…I will be doing a full day version of this topic-How Managers Can Boost Engagement and Productivity in Today’s Employees— on October 27th in Westbrook, Maine. If you can’t go, but would like an on-site version, let me know.


This short clip is actually a “twofer”:

  1. You will hear an example of how to use Stories of Awesome to get more of the behaviors you want and…to boost engagement
  2. You will hear examples of things that managers do that foster engagement, as well as things managers do that result in employees losing interest in working hard and doing their best.


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