In this still-challenging business environment, so many executives and leaders are faced with one pressing issue after another. It makes it easy – even seeming like a necessity – to forge ahead with little regard for what can seem like some of the “softer” skills and considerations. Achieving the goal is what matters the most for many hard-nosed, hard-charging leaders,  but you have to remember that for the long-term the journey matters as much as the short-term goal.

Given the state of the US (and world) economy, the new generation of employees, and the current slide toward negativity in life and in so many organizational cultures, one of the worst things you can do as a leader is to disregard the importance of relationship-building and gratitude-sharing. The bold, driven leader without a strong EQ and personal touch may achieve short-term goals quicker than others, but now more than ever we need leaders who can create real and sustainable success. We need leaders who are positive and who care about people. We need leaders who are process-driven communicators with strong values and strategic visions who are in it for the long-haul. Just because you can take the hill faster than others does not make you the strongest, most effective leader. It means you are hard-charging, and sometimes that’s all it means.

Organizations now must work harder than ever to create cultures of positivity and achievable, engaging goals for all employees. No one should feel left behind. Make people feel that they are an integral part of the process or you’ll lose. You’ll lose their hearts, minds, loyalty, commitment, and effort. Where to begin?

Stabilize Employee Mindsets Through Appreciation– Most effective way to do this? Show them that you appreciate them, their effort, and their contribution. Let them know beyond any shadow of a doubt that their contribution matters and is important to the organization’s success, both short- and long-term. If they aren’t feeling the love, so to speak, they are vulnerable to jumping ship. And this is the last thing you want your most positive, purposeful employees to do right now. These employees are at a premium. When was the last time you said, Thank you, to an employee? When was the last time you gave someone the proverbial pat on the back? A phone call, note, or email can go a long way in letting employees know that you’ve noticed their contributions and you appreciate them. Who can you empower, inspire, motivate, encourage, and appreciate today? Or better yet, how many people can you empower, inspire, motivate, encourage, and appreciate today?

Let Employees Know You Care About and Respect Them as Employees and People – The added dimension of employees feeling that you care about them as both employees and individuals is important to keeping them engaged and putting forth optimal effort. It makes them feel that you respect them and that, in turn, will allow them to have more trust and faith in you. If you are charged with building a team and stabilizing turnover, you are well advised to let people know that you care if you want their trust. Show a personal interest in each individual. It has long been known and shown that potential is unleashed when we show people that we care about and believe in them.

Engage Employees Through Dialogue, Soliciting Their Feedback, Relationship Building, and Corporate Story – Sterile working relationships with one-sided, top-down “dialogue” do not engage employees, let alone garner their commitment or unleash their potential. If you only engage with employees on a passing, surface-level basis, only occasionally paying attention to them or conversing with them, you can rest assured that they will disengage from their jobs and from the organization. They need to be hearing from you and interacting with you consistently, including messages about the organization’s corporate story. Stories are one of the most effective ways for you to engage employees in the company, its goals, and the role they play in the big picture. The organization’s mission, vision, and goals need to be constantly reinforced through your ongoing efforts to develop significant relationships with each of your team members and should be reinforced through corporate storytelling. Yes, policy, procedure, and formal feedback are important communication points – that goes without saying. But, you also need to take some time to develop the personal side of your relationships, while also incorporating your corporate story to reinforce their role and importance. Learn more about Corporate Storytelling.

Bottom line – make a more proactive effort to engage with your employees if you want greater loyalty, commitment, positivity, and productivity. Show them you care. Show them you appreciate their effort. Show them respect. Listen to them. Solicit feedback. Take time out of your busy schedule to dialogue with them. Provide mentoring and development. Celebrate wins.

Very basic stuff – Yes. But being done far less today than one would ever expect. It’s the first step in creating more positivity within your ranks.

If you’ve read Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy or have heard me speak, you know how strongly I feel that we all need to live with heightened awareness if we are to truly understand, receive and leverage the grace — and riches — that flow in and out of our lives every day through signs, signals, symbols, and synchronicities. Without awareness, we miss this important guidance that surely can help us to co-create our very best lives.

While some dismiss synchronicity as coincidence, I see it as grace. And when a synchronous event happens to me on what may on the surface appear to be a mundane — even ‘not great’ — day, I am reminded that every day that we receive the opportunity to be alive is a great day– a gift — indeed.

Today, I was out and about running errands with my husband. I had in my mind that I had only a specific amount of time to accomplish a half-dozen things, one of which was to stop at an optical store to see if by chance a pair of prescription sunglasses that should have arrived a week ago were available for pickup. The store never called me to explain the delay or to say that were in, but I just decided that I would stop by since I was in the neighborhood, and I was feeling like they were there. I was planning to be at the store when they opened at 10am to avoid any wait, but my husband took me on an unexpected detour to look at a house for sale in our neighborhood which took me off my intended schedule.

When I finally arrived at the optical store, the only person in the store was the technician who was busy working on adjusting a pair of frames. I told him my sunglasses were overdue. He checked and could not find them, and was about to send me on my way, when I noticed that the glasses he’d been working on when I walked in looked like the pair I had ordered. Laying on the counter in front of me, was my open file, receipt, and glasses…adjusted, cleaned, ready and waiting to be picked up.

Now while this may not on the surface seem like a particularly earth shaking event, this is a very busy optical store that is always quite fastidious about calling to let you know when your glasses are in, but they had not called and the glasses should have been in a week ago. I had intended to be at the store about 45 minutes earlier when the technician would not have had my glasses in front of him.

The universe obviously can’t speak to us verbally, but subtly it sends us messages all the time if we are aware enough to receive them. I believe that anytime we receive universal affirmation and guidance is, in fact, an earth shaking event. Through today’s synchronous event, I was affirmed that I am aligned with the flow of my spiritual power frequency — that everthing that is happening in my life right now is as it should be…and I am loved. That’s pretty special. Stay aware.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou