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Your organization’s most valuable asset

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- Are people your most valuable asset? Let's examine how others may think of our greatest asset.

Some would say that people are not your greatest asset, and that saying they are insinuates that all employees have a dramatic positive impact on success and desired work culture. The truth is that your best performing employees are your greatest asset, and these are the individuals that are the most stressed out because they end up picking up the slack for underachieving, poor performers.

Wow! Strong words -- but how many would agree with these statements?

We all know how important people are in our respective organizations, but how much time is actually spent trying to engage and motivate those around us?

As leaders do we concentrate on the few? Can we influence everyone? Are people just the way they are and won't change? Let's examine some factors needed to engage and motivate people to be our most valuable asset.

Lead by example. One of the first ways to get top performance from your employees is to lead by example. Be the first person on the job every day and the last to leave. It shows that you have a strong work ethic and you are not asking more from them than you are willing to give yourself.

Exhibit a positive attitude. You must be open and honest about the challenges, and positive about the opportunities to overcome any challenge your organization may be facing. Having a good plan and sharing it can be a great way to keep everyone on track and moving in the same direction.

Reward good performance. Implement a variety of rewards including time off, medal, certificates, gift certificates, etc. The method of reward can vary, but the result should be to motivate.

Empower your employees. Give them the tools and authority to make the decision to get things done at the lowest level.

Be open to employee feedback. Encourage open communication with them. You should seek feedback on ways to improve operations, and generally how to do things better. Maintain easy access to you so they can feel free to communicate these ideas. Remember to praise in public and criticize in private.

Cross train your employees to do a variety of jobs. This helps employees feel they are more marketable, keeps them from getting bored, and gives them a sense of job security. Cross training helps to be more flexible if someone leaves or is out due to illness. When possible, give your employees a job title, this can enhance their self-image.

In short, your individual's productivity, skills, and attitude can make or break your organization, train them well, listen to what they have to say, and reward their productivity. Never forget that your employees are the organizations greatest asset, and it should be every leader's objective to eliminate the first paragraph, and make all individuals a valuable asset in the organization.