There’s No Coddling in Business!


There’s No Coddling in Business!

In my five part model on workplace conflict issues including bullying and abrasive behaviors, I identified one category of possible bullying: the Manipulative Leader (ML). ML’s withhold praise, gratitude, or supportive empathetic comments. This is so common that it seems the workplace ranks “dead last” among the places people express gratitude.


Why Bosses Don’t “Coddle” with Gratitude

According to the Wall Street Journal there are four key reasons employers withhold gratitude:

  1. Fear: Bosses are afraid employees will take advantage of them if they heap on the gratitude.
  2. Inexperience: Some believe in thank-yous but are nervous about appearing awkward or insincere—or embarrassing the employee they wish to praise.”
  3. Greed: Other excuses given by withholding bosses is that they fear their employees will ask for and expect a raise if they receive praise for their efforts.
  4. Contempt: Still others think that praise and gratitude coddle employees and there’s no place for coddling in the workplace.

But, these are excuses. There’s no research evidence that people “go soft” when they receive appreciation. In fact the opposite is true. Bosses can learn to express appreciation and in so doing improve their bottom line.

What about:

  • Thanks for a job well done.
  • I notice that you stayed late last night to finish the report. Much appreciated.
  • Here’s a gift card to the local coffee house, as a token of my appreciation for going the extra mile.
  • We’re all part of a team here, I want to take you all for your time and attention to this project. We’re coming in under budget and on time. Great job.


Why Express Gratitude?

Improve productivity: The Wall Street Journal notes that “more than half of human-resources managers say showing appreciation for workers cuts turnover, and 49% believe it increases profit, according to a study of 815 managers released last week by the Society for Human Resource Management”.

Reduce general complaints: Workplaces where there is expressed appreciation have employees who focus on the positive instead of the negative aspects of their work and relationships. That means that complaints go down, as does whining and gossiping and team conflicts.

Reduce costly turnovers: People who are and feel appreciated are loyal to their employers and to their colleagues. It doesn’t take much to turn an ambivalent employee into a dedicated employee.

Cut bullying complaints: Transforming ML’s into compassionate leaders saves them from unwarranted and costly bullying complaints. As bullying issues become more widely known, people will be adding such neglectful behaviors to their list of complaints.

I’m Kathleen Bartle, a strategic consultant on workplace conflict to executives worldwide for more than 20 years. My work brings individualized solutions to your teams’ lost productivity, loss of key personnel, low morale, and the high costs resulting from bullying, abrasive behaviors and interpersonal workplace conflicts. You can contact me here.

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