There are a number of team development practices that you can use to help unite your staff and generate the most success for your organization. With the holidays right around the corner, the practice I’d like to focus on today is gratitude.
Take notice that I called gratitude a practice, not an act or emotion. You may feel gratitude towards your employees all the time, but if you don’t regularly and actively take the time to express that gratitude to them, they won’t know that their good work is being noticed.
Gratitude should be an established practice within any company for a number of reasons. For one thing, it doesn’t cost anything to say thank you to your employees. Gratitude is inexpensive and easy, and the benefits that it can reap our exponential. An employee who feels appreciated through gratitude and appropriate rewards will be more happy in their position, more productive, less likely to leave, and will ultimately contribute to a better bottom line for your business.
So how should you go about creating it practice of gratitude within your business? Perhaps you can learn from my mistakes:
Recently, I had an employee come to me with a document she had created that outlined ways to make our business more efficient. This employee had clearly spent a lot of time on this document which she took the initiative to create and bring to me. After reviewing her work, I told the employee, “This is great, but…”
“But” is a dangerous word that should be used carefully with your employees. By automatically following up my appreciation with the word “but,” I undercut the gratitude that I meant to express and instead became critical. What I wanted to do was recognize the good work that my employee had done and help her develop it further, but instead I unintentionally discouraged her from going above and beyond.
Here’s what I should’ve said: “I think you’re doing great and that these points are on the right track. Thank you for putting so much time and effort into this. Let’s work together to develop these points even further.”
This is the first step to creating a practice of gratitude: be authentic in your praise and don’t undercut it with criticisms. The next step is to be consistent and specific with your gratitude. Taking a moment at the end of every week to tell your employees that they’re doing great work is good. Taking a moment once a week to thank your workers individually for their specific contributions is even better.
To do this, of course, you need to know your people. Make sure that your praise is given in a manner that will be most appreciated by your employees. It may be that you have a team that does their best work when they’re competing for a weekly prize. Conversely, you may promote more team development by recognizing group accomplishments with a party or a group dinner.
Learn more about how to incorporate gratitude into the professional development of your team by contacting Level Up Leadership. We’re committed to helping you build a better, stronger organization.