I immediately thought of something that didn’t go perfectly, when a leader on my team joyfully said, “Today was as good as it gets.” He was thinking operationally.
While he talked, I thought of things that could have been better.
Five reasons you don’t celebrate success:
- Fear of complacency. Others grow complacent when leaders celebrate too freely. Right?
- High standards. There’s always room for improvement.
- Competition. You’re always pushing yourself.
- It’s all about the next step not the last step.
- Bad overshadows good. You notice what’s wrong before what’s good.
There’s always a, “Yes – But” in the back of my mind.
- “Yes, things went great. But, did you notice (insert something that wasn’t perfect here).”
- “Yes, you did a great job. But, you could have been better when you ….”
- “Yes, things went well. But, think we were lucky.”
Four ways to celebrate like a real leader:
#1. Successful leaders love specificities:
- What went great, exactly?
- What were you doing when you did a great job?
- What do you enjoy most about the results you achieved?
#2. Don’t add your ounce of bad to their gallon of good.
- Separate celebrations from conversations about improvement. Have an occasional celebration lunch. No improvements allowed.
- Allow success to stand on its own. Be happy when others are happy. Don’t allow a negative word to escape your lips.
- Say thank you when you receive compliments.
#3. Go on gratitude walks. No corrections or improvements allowed. Just give specific thanks to everyone. If you can’t find a point of gratitude for everyone on your team, you’re failing your team.
#4. Hold monthly, “Make it Better” meetings.
- Create a structured outlet for improvements so you can celebrate freely at other times.
- Avoid saying, “What’s wrong?” Start saying, “What could be better?”
- Create champions of “better”. Who owns this improvement?
What prevents leaders from celebrating freely?
How might leaders create patterns or systems that free them to celebrate?