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  • Writer's pictureTom Merritt

What's in a name? Building an engaged and motivated team.

I learned the power of the name early in my career when I worked for Columbus Mayor Dana Rinehart. Mayor Rinehart made it his practice to regularly recognize individual employees in meetings. By acknowledging these employees, he let them know he knew who they were and what they had accomplished.

They not only experienced a sense of pride in their accomplishments, they were also thrilled to be recognized in a public setting. Such a simple act by the Mayor served as a great motivator not only for those recognized but for everyone in the room.

Perhaps surprisingly, the positive impact of being recognized by name is not limited to recognition for a job well done. An acquaintance of mine told me about a time when she was the last to enter a meeting with about 500 fellow employees in attendance. The area president, who had just begun speaking, paused to call my acquaintance out by name and gently cajole her for being late. My friend’s reaction surprised even her. She was so thrilled that this leader knew her name that she forgot to be embarrassed about being late.

While I am not suggesting calling people by name to chastise them in front of others, the lesson learned from this example is clear. The power of the name is undeniable. If used the right way, a business leader can use this simple and effective tool to help build a team whose members are engaged and see themselves as contributing to the success of the organization.

So, how do you get to know your employees? It can certainly be a challenge—particularly when you have a large employee base. There are many tools available that can help. But, engaging in simple conversation is a great start.

When you meet or interact with an employee, get to know him or her. Asking questions ranging from the status their current work projects to what they did over the weekend will give valuable information about your employee and show you are interested in them. As you learn more about them, you’ll find it easier to ask those questions and, in turn, gain more insights. As a result, your employees will feel that they are part of the team.

I plan to share more tips for engaging, motivating and developing your employees in the coming weeks. And, I hope to hear how you have built a successful team. What tips do you have to share?



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