My favorite podcast, Manger Tools, recently released an episode titled The Morning Greeting. I liked the episode because it speaks to an important activity I learned many years ago working as a store manager for the Bon Marche (now Macys).
Basically, it is simply the act of saying good morning to each of your direct reports every day and the positive impact it generates.
Mike and Mark go into quite a bit of detail on the mechanics of how to greet direct reports which I found humorous. I know there are many managers who find it difficult to circulate and greet their employees so I understand their need to go into detail. It came naturally to me early in my career as I observed effective managers I worked with and as I developed my own style.
When I was in retail, I would make the point of circulating through my store every morning and greet each of my employees (direct reports, sales and sales support associates) by name. Sometimes I would cruise by their department, wave and say “Good morning, Joan!” and sometimes I would stop and chat a bit – either about business or personal stuff or both, depending on what was going on in the store or in their lives.
I would also make a point of circulating through the store as I left for the day, catching the late shift, and say “Goodnight!” to each employee by name.
Each time I started in a new store, I would immediately begin my greeting activity and quickly learn every employee’s name along the way. I was told I was the first store manager who did this and/or even knew their names.
I often startled new employees when I would approach and greet them but they quickly learned I was OK and approachable. While I did much more than just “the daily greet” to my employees, this simple activity was a significant factor in creating a tremendous amount of trust and loyalty among my teams.
In my current job as an HR leader, I have five direct reports but still make a point of greeting all 16 employees, by name, in my office every morning. I also do the same when I visit the mine or the Wyoming office. Similar to when I was a store manager, sometimes its just a quick greeting with a wave or a chat for a few minutes.
As a result, I am on friendly terms with everybody in the office and know and understand a lot of what is going on at many different levels. This allows me to do my job, as the HR leader in my company, more effectively and provide greater value to my company. More importantly, knowing my co-coworkers as I do helps me enjoy my job more.
I would challenge all HR leaders and managers, even Mike and Mark who said it isn’t realistic or practical to greet 30 people every morning, to take the time to greet all their direct reports and steps even if there are 30+ of them. I did it in a 60,000 square foot store with nearly 30+ people working during any given shift. The time you take to do this is nothing compared to the value you derive.
It is a simple and powerful management activity.