Good to Great: Communicating with your Employee by John Graci

Experience and surveys show that the main reasons employees seek new employment is because they want to feel validated and valued. Those feelings come directly from communication with you, their boss! So how do we communicate that with our employees? 

Glass Half-Full 

It’s easy to lose sight of the positives when focused on areas that need improvement. But if employees are never recognized for their successes, they may begin to feel undervalued and unappreciated. Take time to:

  1. Tell employees, “Good job!” or “You’ve really improved!” When it comes to praise, a little (or a lot!) can go a long way.
  2.  Appreciate employees who have gone above and beyond. Show your gratitude when an employee helps another, helps you, or takes initiative and goes a few steps further than required.
  3. Say “thank you” to show your employee that you’ve taken note of their hard work. 

Clear Expectations 

Think about being a kid, sitting in the passenger seat of your parents’ car. What would happen if your mom or dad told you to go ahead, take the wheel and steer for a while? Sometimes, your employees may feel like that kid steering the car for the very first time. It’s important to:

  1. Ask “What’s our goal?” when you first delegate and explain a task. This gives a big-picture image for your employee and gives both of you the chance to make sure everything is clear. 2.
  2. Encourage them to ask questions. This lets your team knows you’re approachable and open to assist should road bumps occur along the way.
  3. Check in from time to time.

Room for Improvement 

Of course, there will always be times when you need to share corrective communication. This isn’t a bad thing, or at least, it doesn’t have to be. Think about being the kid in the car again. When you drift towards the center, your parents tell you to go back to the right. When you get too close to the shoulder, they send you back to the left. They correct in the moment, and not after the fact. 

Very few people intentionally perform a task incorrectly. So if you notice something not going to plan:

  1. Take a moment and check in with a question like “How can we improve?” If you expect an outside factor is impacting a person’s performance, ask that person, “How are you?” 
  2. Address and own up to your own missteps immediately. “That was my fault. I’m sorry.”
  3. Lead by example. Employees learn from your leadership, so make sure you’re setting a good one.


About the Speaker: John Graci is an author, consultant, and leadership adviser with more than 20 years of management experience in production, office, union and non-union environments. Graci’s folksy and tell-it-like-it-is approach comes across as refreshing and riveting, and will have leaders on all levels of business grimacing in guilt knowing they might be practicing management without a license. For additional information on John Graci, click here.

To book one of John Graci’s keynotes on leadership, communication and teambuilding, contact Midwest Speakers Bureau at 515-974-8305 or

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