I have decided to use the kudo cards, a management 3.0 tool, within an individual coaching session with a young manager.
Actually, it was the time of lockdown in Italy and my coachee was complaining of a lot of difficulties with managing people working remotely. More specifically when I asked her “what do you mean with difficulties? What kind of difficulties are you facing right now?”, she said it was all about keeping alive the relationship, taking care of the personal relationships with her employees. In other words she felt the only contact she had with them was to give them specific tasks and “orders”. Moreover she came to realize that her team weas also complaining about the same issue, that is to say personal detachment.
So the question was how to take care of the relationship along with goals. How to be an effective manager while at the same time being able to relate in some sort of “caring” way to her employees?
Since one of the few key words she was often using was “appreciation”, we came to identify three people to whom she would have liked to show some sort of gratitude.
I then introduced her to the kudo card. Since the first moment she was very happy with the potential that this tool offered. We used the online link of the virtual kudo card to get and send them remotely. While filling in the cards I invited her to be as much specific as she could be.
It was not the first time I have used kudo cards but I still remember it. My key learnings from that experience were that we are used to underestimate the power of gratitude and we find a lot of difficulties in telling people what we are grateful for in a specific way. A general “thank you” doesn’t have the same impact as a specific one. People often don’t realize how important is to identify the behaviors we are grateful for and how appreciative we are for receiving them.
Going back to the session, the coachee then decided to create a shared file on drive so that all team members could play with the cards. As a matter of fact she then introduced the kudo cards as a weekly practice. Each weekly meeting would have started with a “kudo cards time”.
What was really important for her and the team was the atmosphere that this new practice contributed to create. The most important effect was a brand new positive and energizing climate.
It is not so common to find managers that as soon as they come to realize the benefits of a new “good practice” for their team, then start thinking about how to implement it also for the rest of organization. This is how she started talking and introducing what then was called the “appreciation month”. Thus all people were asked to use kudo cards with pairs identifying each week someone to whom showing appreciation.
The most important thing about this latter practice of the tool is that she has made people focusing more on what goes/went well instead of focusing on what doesn’t/didn’t go well.
My opinion is that especially with this practice and this new focus she acted as a 3.0 manager who is not much oriented on managing people while more on creating an environment that foster engagement, motivation and human wellbeing.