Written by: Devin C. Hughes
People thrive on positive reinforcement — nothing feels better than receiving a compliment for a job well done.
What about those little day-to-day tasks that keep things flowing smoothly, though? Those are often forgotten in the shuffle, but the reality is, these deserve acknowledgment just as much as the big accomplishments.
What does this have to do with anything? Well…
Tell them and mean it
Your job for the rest of 2021 is to get into the habit of showing appreciation (authentically) to your co-workers. This will require you to actively seek out things that they are doing well. If your assistant does a stellar job, tell them so! Did your boss nail that difficult negotiation? Let them know it was awesome!
Do you work remotely or have perhaps the toughest job of all — stay-at-home parent?
No problem! Show gratitude to the front desk person or the folks in the mailroom, or the helpful sales clerk that went the extra mile. These verbal reinforcements not only give them a little boost they may have needed, but you will actively be showing your gratitude for a job well done, whatever that may be.
>> Learn more at the webinar: The Optimistic Leader | Managing Stress and Building Resilience During Uncertain Times.
Make it a habit
When you get in the habit of acknowledging these positive acts, you, yourself, will find that you feel better about your life and how full it is, rather than focusing on the things you don’t have. There’s something to be said for the power of positive thoughts and actions.
Try to show your gratitude toward your co-workers at least two or three times a week. After a week, you’ll find you’re doing it more and more without even thinking about it.
That’s the power of gratitude. It’s self-perpetuating. It’s an acquired taste but one that they will get used to.
On a side note, be spontaneous and have a little fun
Everyone wants to have fun at work—even though everyone defines “fun” a little differently. Fun happens when people feel well-connected with a team where there’s mutual respect, open communication, acceptance of who people are, and everyone’s collaborating and working toward the same goal. When teams are working well together, it makes it easier to be spontaneous and have some fun – whether it’s a last-minute Football Friday party after a project launch, or a brief pause in the afternoon to tell stories and have a few laughs over topics that have nothing to do about work.
Sometimes we all need a break from the seriousness of business.
Some Ways to Show Employees How Much You Really Care and be an Optimistic Leader
Boss for the day
Let an employee be “Boss for the Day” and proclaim a jeans day, potluck or make a speech at a team meeting.
Lunch with the Boss
Take your employees out to lunch and let them choose the location. Do your best to keep work-related discussions to a minimum. Take this time to get to know more about what your employees’ interests and hobbies are beyond their work lives.
Impromptu time off
Spontaneous late arrival or early departure days are always a motivator. For example, send a quick email that says, “It’s a beautiful afternoon. Go enjoy it.”
Time off coupons
Give out coupons for 15 minutes of time off as a spot award. Employees can collect them to add up to leaving an hour early one day or coming in late one day.
Remember significant events in your employees’ personal lives, such as a child starting kindergarten, and give them a work-from-home day so they can participate without worrying about coming into the office on time.
Indoor food truck (when you are back in the office)
On a hot day, have the leadership team go around the office with a cart handing out ice cream (e.g., Klondike bars, ice cream sandwiches, etc.). On a cold day, have them push around a “Cocoa Cart,” serving hot chocolate to the team.
Cookies for a cause
For an employee who’s an active volunteer, have specially shaped cookies made and delivered with a thank you card. The shapes should reflect the cause the employee cares about. For instance, if the employee volunteers with military veterans, the cookies might be in the shapes of stars and flags.
Winter fun in the office
Put on a season of “Summer Fun” from Valentine’s Day to Labor Day where everyone is in for a drawing of a sleep-in day, long lunch, or early release. Each week winners are announced, and everyone usually “wins” something twice per summer.