A good leader asks for the story behind a job well done, rather than just giving compliments and going on with their day.

That’s the argument that Ron Carucci makes in a recent Harvard Business Review piece on the best ways an executive can motivate his or her team.

Carucci, co-founder and managing partner at Navalent, a firm that consults with CEOs and executives about pursuing transformational change, writes that asking for the story behind a job well done communicates value to employees on multiple levels.

“By asking for, and listening intently to, the story behind an accomplishment, you acknowledge that the contribution is an extension of its contributor and help them feel that they, and their work, really matter,” Carucci writes. “By honoring the story behind the work, you honor the results as well as the employee who reached them.”

Listening to an employee’s story behind a job well done also can give an executive insight about how the person solves problems and what parts of the work he or she loves best. By doing so, an executive can better target assignments for the employee to help reinforce a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment about the job itself, according to the piece.

You can click here to read Carucci’s full Harvard Business Review piece: “What Not to Do when You’re Trying to Motivate Your Team.”

Topics Talent Leadership