Avoid microinequities -- improve morale

The subtle putdowns, snubs, dismissive gestures and sarcastic tones that can sap motivation and hurt careers of golf facility employees at all levels now have a name: microinequities. If you receive too many microinequities, productivity suffers. Send too many negative messages, and your facility or department performance lags. People leave organizations because they don't feel valued.

Brigid Moynahan, president of Next Level, a consulting firm in Montclair, N.J., suggests reacting in the following way to deliver a message to a microinequity sender:

  • Immediately affirm the value of your relationship: “I want to be a part of your team.”
  • Give the benefit of the doubt; assume the behavior was unintentional.
  • Pose a nonthreatening question. Ask, "Did someone forget to put my name on the distribution list?"
  • Describe the offensive behavior factually. Express how it affected you and others. Suggest specific changes that require feedback. Spell out the changes' potential benefits for all involved.

It's equally important to keep yourself from sending negative mini-messages that wall out co-workers:

  • Take time to connect with colleagues rather than rushing by in the hall.
  • Listen to the B+ players as much as the stars. The person who is not categorized as a high performer also needs to feel valued.
  • Pay attention to people you consistently overlook. Look beyond their age, ethnicity, accent, rank, tenure, likeability or other factors that might cause them to be ignored to discover ways to turn their differences into advantages.

Source: Joann S. Lublin, The Wall Street Journal Online.

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