Handshakes and High Fives

In reviewing a career, what often stands out are not your accomplishments, their luster having diminished with distance, rather it is the meaningful relationships you forged with employees, coworkers, customers, and bosses that will remain bright in your memory.

Thinking about this points directly and dramatically to where you should focus your attention, not inwardly on yourself and your ambitions, but outwardly on the quality of your interactions with others.  This is the crux of service-based leadership.

A simple yet effective way of cementing work relationships is to shake hands.  Politicians understand the value of “pressing the flesh.”  A variation on this traditional practice is the “high five” used by athletes.  Psychologically, this touching of others establishes contact and rapport.  While gratuitously touching employees is inappropriate, the handshake is an accepted sign of recognition and respect.

A hearty handshake of greeting each day, as well as using the opportunity at the end of the work shift to thank employees for their efforts, is a marvelously simple way of establishing a bond with your employees.  As with any other symbol of relationship, the handshake must be sincere, open, and direct.  There can be no question of ulterior motive, only good fellowship and cheer.  Phoniness is evident to everyone.

So say thank you to your employees on a regular basis.  Nothing could be simpler or more profound in its impact on staff morale because so few managers do it.

“Thanks for your help today,” “I really appreciate your efforts on this project,” “I realize how difficult this assignment was, and am most appreciative of your help,” “I couldn’t have done it without you,” “You did a great job” – any of these expressions of appreciation, when sincerely given, will have a stunning impact on your service team.

Adapted from Leadership on the Line: A Guide for Front Line Supervisors, Business Owners, and Emerging Leaders

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

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