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Be Good To Yourself

Getting The Best Out Of Employees

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There are certain plants and trees which kill the chances of every other growing thing in their neighborhood. They so poison the soil and the air that everything about them is stunted, starved, blighted.

Some employers so poison their environment that even the most capable employees cannot prosper under them. Their atmosphere is so suffocating, so depressing, that those about them feel restrained, repressed, suppressed. They cannot act naturally in their presence or do themselves justice. They feel nervous and ill at ease. I have known of employees who worked years in such an atmosphere without getting ahead.

They thought it was lack of ability that kept them down, but when they changed their positions and got into a congenial environment, they advanced rapidly. They expanded like tropical plants which had been stunted for a time in an arctic climate, but which flourished when taken back to their native soil.

Many employers seem to have a perfect genius for dampening the enthusiasm and spontaneity of their employees, who shrivel and shrink every time they come near them. It is impossible to be at one's best in their presence. They destroy individuality, hope, and courage. They make it very hard for their employees to take an interest in their welfare, because they belittle them, scold them, and take the heart out of them, all the time.

Many employers do not praise, upon principle. They think it is very bad for the employee; that criticism is much better than appreciation. Nothing is falser than this idea. Some people are so constituted that they live upon appreciation and praise. They cannot do good work without it. They require it as a stimulus. There is nothing that the average employee will work harder for than commendation or an expression of appreciation. The fact is, there is nothing else which will so tie him or her to their employer as a feeling that they are appreciated. Nothing will so enhearten them as a word of praise when they try to do their best.

Do not be afraid to praise heartily. Do not give a little pinched, stinted appreciation, as though you are afraid you will spoil your employee. Be whole-hearted and generous in your praise. You will be surprised to see how they will respond. Many a successful man and woman have found the turning-points of the careers in a little praise, a little hopeful encouragement!

How many people date their first inspiration, their first step upward, from an encouraging letter, appreciation of something they did, or a word of praise which kindled hope or aroused ambition and determination to be somebody in the world!

Clara Morris says that when she was trying to establish her reputation in New York, Mr. Augustin Daly, her manager, used to watch her from the audience in order to criticize her. One evening, after she had had a great many discouragements, he came up to her and said, "Good girl! You never did better than tonight!" This kindness at a discouraging moment, she says, meant more to her than anything else she had ever experienced.

The knowledge that our ability is recognized makes us think more of ourselves. It gives us hope that, after all, there may be something for us in the future as well as for others who have succeeded.

The efficiency of employees depends almost wholly upon their courage, because, without courage, enthusiasm and zest are impossible. No one can be original, creative, and prolific in their work under fear and suppression. Spontaneity is absolutely necessary to the best results. If employees are hemmed in, watched, suspected, criticized, their work must be restricted and of an inferior quality.

Courage and hope are great elements in production. They are powerful assets in employees, which many proprietors entirely cut off. Things which create antagonism and put the employee constantly on the defensive suppress individuality, and make them a mere machine. There must be freedom or a loss in the ideal service.

Fault-finding is the shortest-sighted policy in the world. It does no good. It is not good. It is energy wasted. There is an infinitely better way. When a person makes a mistake or does wrong, speak to them kindly. It will act like magic. And never lose an opportunity for showing your appreciation of a good piece of work.

If your employees feel that you do not care anything for them, except for what you can get out of them, they will feel the same way toward you and only care for their salaries and for an easy time.

Their respect and admiration are worth everything to you. They hold your success or failure largely in their hands. They can often turn the tide and make all the difference between good fortune and bad. It pays to keep employees contented and happy; it increases the quality of their service very materially.

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