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Shane Decker: Spread Your Praise Out Loud

Make yourself the all-time favorite manager of your employees.




WHOEVER CAME UP with the concept of jumbo shrimp? Or white chocolate? Sometimes, things just weren’t meant to go together. And the worst of these is “constructive criticism.”

There’s generally nothing constructive about criticism, especially when it’s done publicly. Too many managers handle problems out in the open, on the sales floor. Yes, it’s tempting to deal with a problem the moment it happens, but it’s demoralizing not only for the guilty party, but for the whole team, and it makes everyone uneasy for the rest of the day. Closing ratios go down the tubes.

People quit when they feel like failures or when their endeavors go unnoticed. Bad for them, and even worse for your store. Conversely, one of the top motivators for salespeople is being recognized in public for a job well done. How often do you recognize your employees in front of the entire team? Another great reward is a personal, hand-written note from the owner. This takes time and effort, and your employee will value it all the more.

After all, people are pleasers by nature. We want to exceed expectations. And when we are recognized, it makes us try even harder to attain recognition again. In doing so, we achieve our goals more often. We don’t give up as easily if we know someone is going to appreciate our efforts.

Recognition makes everyone feel like a winner. When we know we’re pleasing the owner or manager, both closing ratios and customer satisfaction go up. It also makes us want to talk to potential customers more when we’re outside the store, because we’re proud of our place of business! It’s a place we feel recognized and valued.

Winners never quit. On the other hand, quitters never win. People quit when they feel like failures or when their endeavors go unnoticed. Bad for them, and even worse for your store. Don’t let a little thing become a big thing by overreacting. Don’t lead by fear — lead by reassurance.


The more recognition your employees receive, the more important they feel, and the happier customers will be with the service they receive. It’s true that the way you treat your employees has a “ripple effect.” What kind of ripple do you want to create? Recognize your team members when they:

  • Bring in a new customer from a civic group
  • Make an outstanding sale
  • T.O. a customer, which then turns into a closed sale
  • Work behind the scenes to make another team member look great
  • Go above and beyond their written job description
  • Volunteer to do something outside their job description
  • Dress impeccably

All of these actions benefit your business immeasurably, and set an outstanding example for your other employees. But unless you take notice, no one else will, either.

You have the power to make yourself the all-time favorite manager of your employees, and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime more! Money will always matter to some extent, but a word of praise can go a long way toward making your salespeople – and, therefore, your customers – a whole lot happier. So when you’re proud, say it loud!

This story is from the February 2009 edition of INSTORE.



Moving Up — Not Out — with Wilkerson

Trish Parks has always wanted to be in the jewelry business and that passion has fueled her success. The original Corinth Jewelers opened in the Mississippi town of the same name in 2007. This year, Parks moved her business from its original strip mall location to a 10,000-square foot standalone store. To make room for fresh, new merchandise, she asked Wilkerson to organize a moving sale. “What I remember most about the sale is the outpouring excitement and appreciation from our customers,” says Parks. Would she recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers? “I would recommend Wilkerson because they came in, did what they were supposed to and made us all comfortable. And we met our goals.”

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