nurturing employees Involves more than a paycheck

Is your organization living from paycheck to paycheck? I’m not asking how your financial ledgers are; I’m asking how your employee ledgers are. When the primary relationship with our employees is transactional we are shorting the ledger. Demand 40 (or often more) hours of work a week in exchange for a piece of paper with numbers on it or a direct deposit to the bank account. If we are not nurturing employees we are living paycheck to paycheck as surely as most of our employees are.

The Animal Nature of Nurture

trainer and killer whale. the relationship is similar to how we can be nurturing employeesOne of the benefits of living in Central Florida is all the attractions around here.  One of the attractions, of course, is Sea World.

Sherry and I love to watch the animal trainers work with the animals at Sea World. It’s really interesting how they can do so well with it.  There seems to be a very special relationship with the animal and many an animal trainer will tell you exactly that.

I discovered how they are able to work with them so effectively. I had the benefit of attending a special session with the some of the animal trainers at Sea World, including one of the whale trainers. They shared how they are able to create a level of predictability in performance when animal behavior can be so unpredictable.
When an animal trainer is going to work extensively with an animal, it is critical during a developmental time that the trainer spend one-on-one time with the animal.
  • They will feed the animal
  • They make physical contact
  • They talk to the animal and encourage it.

This nurturing, one-on-one time allows the animal and the trainer to build reciprocal trust.  The reciprocal trust and the nurturing that allow the trainer and animal to be able to work together effectively and safely.

Nurturing Employees as a Leader

If you want an engaged and productive workforce, you must include nurturing employees as a part of the relationship. It transforms the relationship from merely transactional to one of collaborative. It provides meaning and purpose to their job and not just a check. Without taking an employee beyond that transactional level, you will NEVER help them reach their fuller potential, when means they will never be as productive as they could be for you.

The Human Nature of Nurture

As humans we like to think we are different from the animals. We are more advanced, more sophisticated, more intellectual. And in many ways we are. However, in matters of emotions and needs, there are ways where we aren’t any different from the animals.  We need nurturing ourselves. Our desire for relationship supersedes all else and creates desires for more.
  • Our need to trust others and be trusted.
  • We are desperate for people to recognize that we are significant
  • For others to recognize that we have an impact.
  • We crave for them to encourage us
  • Our deep need for them to guide us.

As I have often said before, it’s all personal and it’s all emotional. If you keep it transactional your organization is living paycheck to paycheck. You can survive that way but it’s hard to really thrive.

Giving Nurture

The flip side is that we all have the ability to nurture other people, it doesn’t come out naturally.  It has to be intentional and it has to be developed over time.

Why would I want to bother to do that in a business environment or as a leader?

When you are able to nurture people, you are able to connect with people.  When you can connect with people, you can build influence with them.  When you can build your influence, then you can help them get the most out of themselves.  That’s what great leaders do. It’s the very nature of leadership: to get the most out of others.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  -John Maxwell

Here’s some things you can do to build those nurturing relationships:

  1. COMMIT TO PEOPLE – you have to be committed to their development.  It doesn’t mean you are an enabler, it doesn’t mean that you take over their lives; it simply means that you provide the circumstances and that you are committed to helping them help themselves if they are willing to take the steps to go in the right direction.
  2. BELIEVE IN PEOPLE – If you don’t believe that they can become better or that they can achieve greater things, then you are not going to be able to get anything out of them because that belief will show through.  Whether you believe they are worthless or believe they are worthwhile, it will show through in everything you do.
  3. GIVE WITH NO CONDITIONS – Pour yourself into them and do it without setting any conditions.  A lot of people thing that giving is a reciprocal thing; I do something for you and you do something for me.  No conditions here.  Go in and pour yourself into them simply because you want to see them get the best out of themselves.  You will benefit in the long-run but you can’t go into it with the expectation of a tradeoff because there isn’t necessarily going to be one.

Build your relationship power! Develop the leader in you and see the profit in moving beyond the transactional relationship. Let’s work together to move you beyond paycheck to paycheck. Contact me today for a free Discovery Strategy Session.

The Critical Mass of Loyalty

Loyalty is a valued trait. The loyalty of leaders makes this happen.We all desire to be surrounded by loyalty. Knowing that the people with whom we share time and share lives have our backs. We value the quality in family, employees, and customers. Yet we spend so little time considering the catalyst that encourages this – the loyalty of leaders. Without it, encouraging loyalty in others is not sustainable. Admiral Grace Hopper once said,

Loyalty is a two-way street – loyalty out leads to loyalty in.

Loyalty Interwoven

Some form of loyalty factors into every level of our lives:

  • business or career success
  • leadership
  • personal relationships
  • spiritual growth

Often loyalty is the missing factor that helps lead us to success in many endeavors.  Without loyalty

  • We cannot gather and lead effective teams and success eludes us.
  • Leading or being lead becomes problematic. Loyalty is what creates the dependent bonds that allow us to follow or care enough to lead.
  • All personal relationships fail because they drop to the level of simple transactional relationships instead of the caring and devoted connections that become permanent.
  • We cannot devote ourselves to enlightenment and growth because we will never to open to having our heart touched or our soul fulfilled.

So critical is loyalty as a factor that the author of Think and Grow Rich and many other self-improvement tomes Napoleon Hill once said,

“Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure in every walk of life.”

The Loyalty of Leaders is the Critical Key

The best way to garner loyalty is to give loyalty freely.  By freely I mean that you build relationships and award loyalty without reservation once trust has entered in.  And often that’s the missing factor.

Loyalty was Once a One-Way Street

Go back a few generations and one-way loyalty was the expectation. A company demanded loyalty of you but there was little loyalty in return. In fact, often your loyalty was taken advantage of.

For many years in the Japanese business culture that same level of loyalty was the standard. People would gladly sacrifice themselves for the good of the organization. Lower level executives would take the hit for the mistakes made by upper level executives.

The New Landscape of Loyalty

Over time, as younger generations watched their elders being tossed away again and again, a little cynicism developed. People were not longer willing to give unfettered loyalty and get nothing in return. You can call it selfishness if you want. Yet I believe it has more to do with our innate desire for loyalty from the people around us. Therefore, what we were once willing to set aside we cannot ignore any longer.

You want loyalty. What makes you think no one else does?

The Qualities That Demonstrate the Loyalty of Leaders

What are some qualities that demonstrate loyalty?  Use the word LOYALTY to remember to practice these qualities in your life.

Love others before they deserve it or earn it.  Care enough to want to add value to them.


Open your mind to the positive attributes of others.  Too often, we look for reasons to not enter a relationship instead of the reasons to enter.  If you are looking for a reason to be unhappy or dissatisfied, you will always find it.  EVERYONE has positive qualities, the question is how do you bring them out.This Loyalty acronym helps you develop the characteristics for the loyalty of leaders


Yield to the needs of the other over your own.  It’s hard to be loyal to others when you are too busy putting yourself first.  A loyal person always puts others first.


Accept others as they are, warts and all.  Realize that YOU can’t change them.  Be prepared to take them as they are or not at all; and in most cases not at all is a choice that causes you miss out on anything positive that could come from the relationship.


Live to serve others.  Seek to add value in every encounter, with no expectation of receiving value in return.  Relationships, whether business or otherwise, are not always transactional; it’s not always a trade.  Be prepared to accept value when it is offered to you, but don’t expect it.


Trust others.  This is critical.  You cannot give loyalty unless you trust and you cannot receive loyalty unless you are trusted.  In an interesting twist, people who don’t trust are generally not trusted.  Think about it, how many people do you trust who quite clearly do not trust anyone else?


Yearn to spend time with others.  In a busy world, we too often have a tendency especially with business relationships to want to go in, conduct our business, and go out.  Big mistake.  Take the time to build.  Get personal.  Ask questions beyond the sale.  Build friendships, not just business partners.

Applying the Traits

When you apply these traits, you will develop loyalty to others and earn loyalty from them.

The loyalty of leaders builds mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationships that touch the heart.

With the loyalty of leaders you can add value and receive value.

You will build a team. 

It starts with caring. Unsure of ways to show you care? Download my FREE e-book 15 Innovative Ways to Show Employees You Care (without breaking the bank).

Loyalty is as Loyalty Does

loyalty is a valued characteristic, especially when it goes both ways.Do you miss those days of company loyalty? Do you know people who have stayed with the same company for 10, 20, 30 years or more? Do you wish you had people like that? Believe it or not, loyalty is not a lost attribute. It IS still possible and how we think about loyalty is going to make the difference.

Are Millennials Disloyal?

The short version of this is not necessarily.
I have expressed before my dislike for generalizations based on age periods. it is almost always negative and non-productive. However, there is evidence to support that people in the workplace born in the time period defined as Millennials do not stay in jobs as long as others.
A Gallup Report from 2016 finds that 21% of ages 22-37 in the workplace have changed jobs in the last year. That’s significantly more than any other age group. It goes on to suggest that they are the least likely to stay in their same job for long and the least engaged.
However, it also suggests that the willingness to leave is not driven by whimsy but rather by the perception that the current job has nothing more to offer them.

Rejecting the Loyalty Scheme

This movement towards job hopping is not really that new. It started as far back as the late 1960’s and has grown since then. It has been born out of what generations have observed in the workplace over the years.
The Baby Boomers (1945 to 1964) were taught loyalty from their parents and grandparents.  You left school, went to work for a company and stayed with them your entire career (at their discretion).  Very rarely did you have any control over what role you filled, whether or how you advanced, how you grew, when you retired, etc.  You were expected to be loyal to the company at all costs.
However, very rarely was that loyalty returned.  Some organizations rewarded loyalty by returning loyalty to their people, but most focused on punishing disloyalty and showing very little appreciation for those who were loyal.
Something seemed terribly wrong with that and as other generations have come along that have increasingly rejected that concept of loyalty. It’s not a lack of work ethic. It’s an expectation of rewards and returns.

Changing Loyalty Landscape

The trend is shorter stays at one company – sometimes 3-5 years at the most.
Why? Because part of the new thought on loyalty is they expect it to be a two-way street.  If they are loyal to the company they expect some loyalty in return.
Their willingness to change jobs quickly isn’t because they are fickle or lazy or disloyal. It’s because they perceive that the company has nothing more to offer them, including loyalty. If they don’t see opportunity and don’t see your commitment to them, they are more willing today than ever before to pick up and move on. They will keep changing until they find what they are looking for.
As a leader, we must change your thinking to follow that theme.   Be willing to commit resources to help somebody become better at what they do. Have direct conversations -where you mostly listen – about what each person desires and hopes for. Look for how you can help them find that within your organization. Invest in them.
Do all this with the knowledge that they most likely will NOT be with you forever. They may eventually take what they have learned from you and go somewhere new.  That’s the gamble of investing in people.  The alternative is a bigger gamble with consequences even more significant if you lose (and you will).
So think in terms of how you can maximize your investment over the short term and long term.    If you can get somebody up to speed, maximize what they can produce for you, and maximize their potential over the time period they are with you, then it’s a win-win.

Encouraging Loyalty

So here’s some tips to help you along.
  1. Focus on Relationships — Building relationships with your employees.  Understand their desires, understand their dreams so you can help them move towards that.  Remember the three questions you must answer for them are do you care for me, can you help me, and can I trust you.
  2. Focus on Growth — Invest in your employees with formal training, modeling, mentoring, and providing them with challenges to push them out of their comfort zone.  The more you can help them and move them closer to their potential, the better they are going to produce for you.
  3. Focus on Empowerment — Equip them and authorize them to take the steps they need to take to produce for you.
  4. Focus on Communication — Communicating with them at all times.  ALL TIMES!
  5. Focus on NOW — Forget about forever.  Work on building loyalty for the time they are with you, allowing them to give you the best return while you are giving the best to them.

Here’s the Bonus

Finding loyalty is searching for the goldWhen you invest in your employees and give them time, resources, training, caring, and influence –  show them loyalty – then many of them will be loyal in return.  Not all of them, maybe not even most of them.  But the ones who count.  Remember you are looking for the golden ones anyway; the ones who will yield greatest returns for you.  You are mining for gold.  As Dale Carnegie says,
“Developing your people is a lot like mining for gold.  You have to move a lot of dirt to get to the gold.  But you don’t go looking for the dirt, you go looking for the gold.”

Your Action

  • What will you do today to begin looking for the gold?
  • How can you best invest in your employees for the short and long term?
  • What are you willing to give up to reach that?

Do you need help navigating the employee engagement landscape? Want to get started? Schedule your FREE Discovery Strategy Session today.

Leaders Focus on People, Not Generations

Understanding generations help us communicate. Stereotyping them hinders our communication.There is no denying that there are generations in our history. Also no denying that we have undergone huge social upheavals, especially in the last 100 years, that define those generations.

And certainly there is some benefit to being able to identify cultural impacts on a certain age group. It helps to understand perspective and reference base.

Culture Impacts Generations and Understanding

For example, every year Beloit College puts out what they call The Mindset List. For each year of incoming freshmen, they detail things the students have and have not experienced in their lifetime. It helps staff and faculty better understand where they are coming from. Some examples from this year’s list, the class of 2021, are:

  • Students coming in this year were likely born in 1999.
  • They are the last of the Millennial Generation
  • They are the first generation for whom a “phone” has been primarily a video game, direction finder, electronic telegraph, and research library
  • Zappos has always meant shoes on the Internet
  • Bill Clinton has always been Hillary Clinton’s aging husband
  • Justin Timberlake has always been a solo act

Things like that can be useful information. Things they have known to exist and what has ceased to exist. Knowing a little bit about perspective can be helpful and identifying generational data serves that purpose.

Dangerous Assumptions Based on Generations

Where we run into trouble is when we attach stereotypes to a generation. Trying to predict behaviors based on a generation leads to assumptions. And as a leader, making and acting upon assumptions can lead to dangerous consequences.

baby boomersI am a Baby Boomer, which in some eyes makes me old. In my defense, I am on the tail end of it.

By generational stereotyping I should be……..well, that’s the problem. In my research it was difficult to find any kind of consensus on what characteristics define a Boomer. By some accounts I am a workaholic, not very tech savvy, out to get mine, and very rules driven. By other accounts, I am simply looking forward to retirement, stay in one job for an extended period of time, and am independent and even revolutionary.

in truth, I am anything but a workaholic (actually I could probably use at least a little of that attitude). I consider myself very tech savvy (background as a technical trainer), but also very relationship-driven. Most would tell you I am not exactly known as a rules follower. Personally, I said no to retirement long ago. I have changed jobs often. I enjoy mentoring, adding value, and sharing fame and fortune. I’ll stop before it sounds too much like a dating profile.

But if you rely on the stereotypes, your treatment and expectations for me would certainly create conflict. I would most likely not behave or produce the way you envisioned. Which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t produce, just not necessarily the way you expected.

Millennials have the same issue.

Who Are Millennials?

Millennials in the workplaceTrue to form, there is some variation in the time period for the Millennial Generation. Some say from 1982 to 2000; others say from 1980 to 1996. Bruce Tulgan, who authored the book Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, actually defines it in two waves – from 1978 to 1989 and then from 1990 to 2000.

As a result, most Millennials in the workplace would roughly be between 18 and 37 years of age with the last remnants about to enter the workforce.

To discover the stereotypes of MIllennials, I performed a Google search starting with the words “Millennials are” and here are some of the words that appeared

  • Lazy
  • Entitled
  • Selfish
  • Disloyal
  • Tech Savvy
  • Need work to babysit them

Most M’s I know are far from lazy; if anything they are too busy. Entitlement is not the exclusive territory of M’s and is more cultural than generational in my opinion. Again, very general statements that stereotype an entire generation of people. And companies pay consultants thousands of dollars to learn how to engage with them.

Why the Stereotypes Don’t Work

Here is why relying on these assumptions about generations creates problems for a leader.

Very (Sometimes Extremely) Overgeneralized

As seen in the above list of Millennial stereotypes in order to create a “profile” means we often point to the extreme behaviors over the typical. Extreme behaviors stand out and are the ones most noticed. So when we find it necessary to try to predict behavior, we opt for the far side.

Highly Inaccurate

Generational Theory came about in 1923 by Karl Mannheim. Emphasis on theory. Mannheim himself even admits that there are wild variations in his theories about generations. Part of that is caused by location, heritage, and other factors. What we know about a Baby Boomer from Florida may be different than what is true about a Boomer in Montana.

Despite the empirical data surrounding Mannheim’s study, it is still just a theory and as yet to be proven as scientifically provable. However, like evolution, we have taken an unproven theory and made it science.

Arbitrary Classifications

The only one really well-defined is Baby Boomers, which is from 1946 to 1964. They were well-defined because statistically there was a huge increase in births during that time period; likely brought about by people returning from the war. World War One, Two, Korean War – pick one.

Other generations, even the ones preceding Boomers, have been somewhat randomly created to suit a purpose. For example, the generation leading up to 1946 is called The Greatest Generation. How did that term come about? Newsman Tom Brokaw coined it because it made a good book title. Actually, I’m sure he really felt that way. But the fact that it did sell a lot of books certainly doesn’t hurt. Realistically, it should be called the World War Generation because that’s the period that defines them the most.

Yet as noted before, there tends to be dissension over generation names and time periods for most of these generations. And most of the definitions appear to be entirely self-serving. If your book or product serves a specific segment, it’s good to have that segment be more inclusive.

What does understanding generations do to help you? How do you overcome the stereotypes?

Share your thoughts here or drop me a line at psimkins(at)


Leading with Love

Tis the Season

Christmas is love. Dog Jack Russell Terrier in a house decorated with a Christmas tree and gifts wishes happy Holiday and Christmas EveLove at Christmas. Even people who aren’t particularly faithful will celebrate Christmas.  We give gifts, we buy gifts for others, we receive gifts from others, we spend a lot of time with family.  And we celebrate Christmas because of the importance of the event and what it means to us; even people who don’t follow it very strongly really understand what Christmas is all about.
At the core, what Christmas is really all about is LOVE!  It’s about how we love others!
And this is the opportunity that it presents to us:  the opportunity to love others.  To put the focus on other people for at least a little bit of time so we can care for them and add value to them.

The Every Day Season

That same attitude we employ during this season is what drives our relationships the rest of the year. To Boldly Lead people follows an essential process.
  1. We CARE for people
  2. So can then CONNECT with them
  3. In order to INFLUENCE them
  4. Setting us up to LEAD them
So it starts with caring. Yet here’s the catch.
You cannot care for anyone you don’t love.

Love in Business – that’s Weird!

Now it may seem odd using that word in the context of leadership and business. Yet it depends greatly on how you define it. If you only think of love in romantic terms then this seems really….weird. And perhaps a little disturbing. And in light of recent events and public revelations of inappropriate behavior it may even seem career killing.
But there is more than one way to love others. In fact, in an article in Psychology Today, author Dr. Neel Burton outlines seven types of love.
  1. Eros – Romantic
  2. Philia – Friendship
  3. Storge – Familial
  4. Agape – universal or charitable
  5. Ludus – playful or uncommitted (think flirting)
  6. Pragma – practical love, born of reason or duty
  7. Philautia – Self-love, i.e., your self-esteem and confidence

Try a Business Related Love

In his book Love is the Killer App, Tim Sanders defines a workplace related love. He calls it BizLove. It would most closely related to Pragma but also Philautia plays a part.
BizLove means that you engage in the sensible sharing of intangibles to promote other people’s growth. In other words, the growth and development of your people is your primary concern.
In order to do that, you must have a good enough self-esteem and confidence that you don’t feel threatened by the growth of others. And it means that you regard caring for others important enough to make it a priority and a daily event.
Look at it this way, Everyone on your team has improved their ability to contribute and applied that to team goals or organizational goals. How does that improve your team? Your organization? How does it increase YOUR value?
[tweetthis]Love creates the circumstances by which we excel, particularly by helping others excel.[/tweetthis]

Love Applied

So here’s a few things that I want you to do during this holiday season to really celebrate what Christmas is all about and share that love. This will set the stage for practicing your BizLove as well.
  1. Do something for someone else who can never pay you back.  Focus on that, look to do that daily; something for someone who can never pay you back.  That’s what love really means; when you don’t expect a reward or a payback, what can you do for others.
  2. Take time out from the gift giving to appreciate the gift of everyone you encounter.  What’s special about the people you spend your time and relationships with?  Tell them.  Tell them what they mean to you and that will make a world of difference to them!
  3. Look around you and appreciate the LOVE that the creator has shown you by surrounding you with blessings!  Even when you don’t necessarily see them.

I hope you have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Want to help spread the message of love in your organization? Book me to speak at your next gathering. Contact me at psimkins(at) for more details.