In a previous blog post, I talked about empowering individuals with double As. The idea came up from the concept of lithium powered batteries that power up electronic devices: appreciation and affirmation really do empower individuals. This past week, I was listening to an episode of the EntreLeadership podcast where Chris Hogan, a former All-American college football player, talks about empowering others by giving them A.I.R to breathe. We all know that air is vital to our survival, much like food and water. A general rule mentions that humans cannot survive if they do not breathe air within 3 minutes. That’s how important air is for our survival. Conversely, we also need to breathe A.I.R. on a constant basis in order to survive in any organization. Leaders need to understand the importance of A.I.R. in the success of their organization.
- Appreciation. I’ve already talked about this in my previous blog post but it is worth repeating. Appreciation is one of the cheapest and most rewarding way to reward your staff. It applies to anybody as well: your spouse, your kids, your parents, your customers, vendors, suppliers, etc. A short, hand-written thank you note still has its place in this day and age of digital communication.
- Inspiration. To inspire someone is to literally stimulate their energies to achieve something beyond their imagination. Bill Gates was inspired by Dr. Henry Edward Roberts to start Microsoft back in 1975. Steve Jobs inspired a lot of people to do something great. As leaders, we need to be pedlars of inspiration to people around us, especially our staff. You’ll be surprised at what they can accomplish when they get an inspiration from you.
- Recognition. Didn’t we all love getting those stickers and stars when we were in pre-school? What about that plaque that we got for being best in math? Unfortunately, recognition, like dinosaurs, have become extinct inside corporations. Managers usually think that employees are already getting paid for what they do so no other form of recognition is necessary. Sadly, this is also one of the top reasons why employees leave an organization. To retain top talent, practice the art of recognizing them both privately and publicly. It could be as simple as giving them a plaque or certificate or as extravagant as hiring a marching band. Be creative, just make sure you do it on a regular basis.
If we need to breathe air within 3 minutes to live and survive, breathing it regularly makes us healthy. We need healthy individuals to fill our organization and what better way to do it is to empower our staff (and everybody else) by giving them A.I.R. to breathe.