Many tough-minded leaders sneer at the thought of offering sincere greetings to people in the workplace. They get so wrapped up in their work and in projecting a commanding image that they walk right past people without acknowledging them or, even worse, acknowledging only some of them—usually the same ones day after day. Not acknowledging—or selectively acknowledging—coworkers and reports is a big mistake as everyone will notice, and it will send a message about how little you value them.
Never underestimate the value and power of a simple gesture like saying hello or stopping to chat for a minute or two. Ask people how their husbands and wives are doing. Ask about their children and their interests. And don’t just go through the motions like a politician looking for votes—people will see right through it. As the old saying goes, “People will not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.”
Greeting people sincerely serves another purpose as well—it allows your coworkers and reports to get to know you. Too many leaders keep their distance from employees, both physically and emotionally. They believe that they can’t manage well unless they project an image of strength. Remember, you’ll get a lot more respect if you let people know who you really are!
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