How the 4th of July can Make You a Better Manager

Posted on July 1, 2015.

Back on July 2, 1776, members of the Continental Congress voted in favor of breaking with England. Two days later, everyone signed the Declaration of Independence.  After that, everyone had a lot to do - there were troops to train, supplies to organize, strategies to develop, and a war to be won!

Nonetheless, I’m willing to bet that, after signing the Declaration on July 4, the members of the Continental Congress marked the occasion with drinks. Maybe even dinner.  Possibly a party. It would have been well-deserved. Those men worked hard to make such a feat of diplomacy and vision come to pass.

In fact, all over the colonies, folks celebrated. Bonfires, parades, and gunfire salutes accompanied readings of the Declaration of Independence. And it didn’t end there. In 1777, although knee-deep in a war, the Continental Congress officially commemorated the occasion in Philadelphia. In 1778, George Washington gave his troops extra rum to mark the moment. Centuries later, we’re still celebrating the day with fireworks and BBQs.

The Fourth of July serves as an excellent reminder that, no matter the circumstances, a job well done deserves celebration and reward. George Washington knew this.  Though he expected his soldiers to fight bravely and do their best, his gift of rum inspired loyalty and made them feel like they mattered. That nurturing moral is an example of excellent leadership that every manager should follow.

Yet today, workplace achievement frequently goes unrecognized.  Instead, it’s radio silence and back to the grind. How does that motivate people or keep them happy? 

It doesn’t.

Lack of reward and recognition is one of the top reasons folks leave their jobs. Which is why it’s essential for managers to create a program that rewards the superstars as well as the quiet types who work just as hard. Making motivation a priority isn’t just key to employee retention, it’s elemental to being a great manager.

So, this July, as we all honor and enjoy the fruits of the labor of our country’s founding fathers, also remember what a great example of leadership they set, particularly in the face of great adversity. 

For tips on how to motivate your team, I’ve shared some great advice here.