The Law of Reciprocity
Influential leadership skills include the Law of Reciprocity or… if you do a favor for someone they feel obligated to do something back for you. Almost like the “Golden Rule”, reciprocity is giving something and getting something back in kind. The leadership application of this law is the understanding that if you invest yourself in helping others become successful, they will in turn help you become successful. One of my mentors Zig Ziglar once said “You can have everything in life you want, if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”
There is also an employee and employer engagement that creates a mutually successful workplace environment. By employing reciprocity, good professional relationships are built, and loyalty and increased commitment is the result. The Law of Reciprocity creates working relationships giving people the emotional ties to their jobs that allow them to look forward to getting up and going to work. They have a sense of value for their contributions, and their feedback is noticed. It also comes down to small actions that make a big difference.
“Mr. Smith” had been working at his job for over five years. Every day he got up, went to work and performed his assigned duties well. A recent reorganization gave him a new boss. He was skeptical about how the new boss would treat the employees, but went about his work just like always. Coming to work one morning, he saw his new boss standing at the door, holding the door open and saying, “Good Morning.” Mr. Smith was flabbergasted. He had never heard a kind word or any word for that matter, from a boss in this company.
Mr. Smith had an entirely new opinion of his new boss and his energy that day was high. Every morning the boss made it a point to say “hello” to Mr. Smith and the other employees. The boss would ask his employees how they were doing and how their families were. He would offer friendly suggestions, tokens of his appreciation, and went so far as to ask about hobbies, weekend plans, and life, in general. In turn, Mr. Smith and his fellow employees found a new interest in their jobs. They were excited to work with the company in general and their leader, in particular.
This is reciprocity on a human-to-human level. Leadership positively engaging with people makes a huge difference. Resonant leaders are one of the most important influences in a positive work environment. They engage proactively and take responsibility for what is going on in the company. A leader has the power to discipline, hire, fire, and reward conversely employees have the power to withhold authorization of leaders and to lead by their own attitudes and work ethics.
Good leaders create an atmosphere of giving and receiving.