The industry's up-and-coming executives require something their old-school bosses are often reluctant to give: praise. This deficiency can be the difference in losing or keeping a game-changing team member, said Gabi Whitefield, who along with being global public relations director at Land Rover is a member of the Automotive News Europe Rising Stars Club.
Whitfield was asked to speak last night during the annual Rising Stars dinner, during which time the 14 members of the Class of 2015 were inducted. The event, held at Coventry Cathedral in Coventry, England, also marked the fifth-year anniversary of the Rising Stars program.
Whitfield, who was named a Rising Star in 2012, shared a poignant story about a male automotive executive who reached out to her to ask how he might better connect professionally with one of his top people, who just happened to be female.
Whitfield asked him: “Does she know how much you value her?”
He said she must know because he had just given her a top-level position.
Whitfield asked again, “Have you told her she is valued?”
He provided another example of his trust for her abilities.
After the third time Whitfield asked her question the executive admitted that he had never told her how much she was valued.
Soon after that the executive, without any fanfare and at the end of a regular meeting, told the woman “You make a difference and you are valued.”
It's a good thing he did because those few words stopped the woman from negotiating a new job with a competitor.
“Praise builds loyalty and makes us feel valued,” Whitfield said.
Great advice for anyone who is leading people, especially those who can't understand why they fail to keep quality people on their teams.