I’ve observed leaders who walk by everyone from the receptionist to junior level staff to other leaders without acknowledging them. I’m not talking about engaging in conversation, but what about “good morning” or a smile and a nod?
When I’ve raised this issue, I’ve received some astonishing responses. One client was baffled about why he needed to greet one of his direct reports with “Good morning” (or, better still, “Good morning, how was your weekend?”) on Monday.
Other people roll their eyes and ask why this is necessary. After all, they’re “really busy” and they just don’t have time to engage in small talk.
When you consistently ignore your staff, they might as well be invisible. And in fact, that’s exactly how they feel. I’ve had employees ask me what they’ve done wrong because Mr./Ms. Executive doesn’t acknowledge them. Even worse is if you’re angry about something else and spew at the nearest person (who has nothing to do with your rant).
The opposite of feeling invisible is feeling visible. When people feel visible, they feel valued by their employer. It may not seem like a big deal, but it has huge impact.
Everyone understands when you’re preoccupied or busy with a deadline and don’t take time to acknowledge them. That said, you can’t be this way all the time. Even establishing eye contact as opposed to staring over someone’s head makes a difference. And that doesn’t take any extra time.
When I discuss this issue with clients, the ones who make small changes are surprised that it takes so little to gain so much. Give it a try! Remember the equation: visibility = feeling valued.
Have a great day!