4 Questions in 4 Days that Strengthen Teams and Elevate Performance
It’s Monday morning in the U.S. (Apologies to everyone who is a day ahead of us.)
I’m posting 4 questions in four days that enable leaders to strengthen teams and elevate performance.
Imagine little Freddy throwing a tantrum in the grocery story. Freddy’s mommy or daddy give him the candy bar he’s screaming for. What happens next time little Freddy goes to the grocery store?
You get what you honor. Freddy learns the value of throwing tantrums.
Celebrations, rewards, and honor tell people what matters.
Monday: What small wins might you celebrate today?
When you see something good, go nuts.
- Speak well of someone in front of others. A thank you can be done in private. Praise is done in front of others. (Adapt to people’s preference. Not everyone enjoys being singled out.)
- Pat people on the back. Literally.
- Bring a cake to the lunch room.
- Take someone to lunch.
- Write a handwritten thank you note.
- Call someone to your office and say, “I noticed that you … . Thank you.”
- Put a post-it note on someone’s door. “You rock at ….” (Don’t sign it.)
- Pass along praise from customers.
- Give gift cards for a local coffee shop.
- Send a video thank you message to their cell phone.
Notice character and effort:
- Who displays grit? They’re working through a tough challenge and progress is slow.
- Who is passionate to improve? They’re reading books, taking a course, or seeking feedback.
- Who encourages others? They’re interested in bringing positive energy to conversations.
You’re more likely to get big wins if you celebrate small successes.
- Don’t criticize something because it isn’t perfect. Think about trajectory and progress.
- Build culture by celebrating desired behaviors.
How might leaders celebrate small wins in simple ways?
Other posts in the “4 Questions” series:
Part 2: How do you want to show up today?
Part 3: What decision do you/we need to make?
Part 4: What would you like to do a little more of next week?
in honor of Bosses day, thanks again Dan for helping us keep focused and appreciating best practices.
Hey Dale. I must confess that the connection with Bosses Day is pleasant coincidence. 🙂 …
Sometimes even a blind squirrel finds a nut!
Thank you, Dan, for a terrific way to start Bosses Day! Our teams are our most important asset .
We need to stop and recognize them whenever possible.
Thanks Gillian. Maybe Bosses Day should be the day Bosses celebrate others?
Lots of good ideas to align expectations and improve the intrinsic aspects of recognition. Be sure to be cautious about adding financial kinds of extrinsic rewards that will generate winners and losers and probably some unanticipated negative side effects. Giving out lottery tickets to a broad swath or everyone is also an interesting and inexpensive thing, given the $9 coffees we see so often!
Good points, Dr. Scott. I was thinking that a celebration budget might be useful. This budget would be for small spontaneous celebrations.
As you say, be careful of extrinsic monetary gifts. The focus is on the honor/celebration. Something like a traveling trophy is another simple point of celebration.
Personally, I like the food related celebrations. Take the team to lunch, for example. An experience is more memorable than small monetary rewards.
Celebrate what you want to duplicate! Often times we look too hard at what is wrong and not what is going right. I’m not suggesting to celebrate those that are doing what is required of them, but rather the ones that are displaying traits that can help build a culture.
Thanks Doug. Celebrate behaviors that build the culture. Brilliant.
My experience has been “be careful what you start”, be prepared to continue the path for “once you start, they all watch your every step”.
That being said be consistent with your praises and accolades, post for others to see, so they may strive for the approval as well.
Good point Tim. Small celebrations should be part of everyday experience. But, if you start something dramatic, expensive, or time consuming, you’re kicking yourself in the pants.
It is just as easy to catch people doing things right as doing things wrong. The difference in the effect is life changing.
Thanks Carolyn…. And it’s more fun! I encourage leaders to schedule gratitude walks. Just walk around looking for opportunities to say thank you. Some of us need to schedule it.
The “Pat people on the back. Literally.” advice, of course, requires context. But I like the idea of making sure your body language is also saying, “Good job,” not just words or a written note.
Thanks James. I’m so glad you brought this up. Something like standing beside someone might work. The hand shake with a shoulder pat. The hand shake with an arm grip. Depending on the culture, a hug.
For some reason, I also think about leaning in.
Of course, words and body language need heart.
“You Get What you Honor” I think this is genius. I love this line. Thanks!
Interesting I’ve been sharing messages with my team for a while now, guess what showed up on my desk this afternoon? A thank-you card from my staff in honor of “Bosses” day…
Way to go, Thomas! Happy Bosses Day
Reading your post describes the current culture of our team. When we see something good, we say it (and go nuts). Thank you for the solid tips on how to re-inforce a culture of celebration.
Thanks Rafa. Interestingly, a culture of celebration doesn’t cost any more than a culture of complaining. 🙂
Dan, great article. Easy things to try!
I’m actually using this article as a pilot to a leadership exercise I’m running with a cross-functional team I work with. Each month I choose an article for us to read and try. We have 2 weeks then we discuss a the end of the month. Each discussion ends with a personal challenge. Example: So you did this thing once, now do it weekly for a month, then twice a week…etc.
Thank you for your continued wisdom. I’m grateful to be able to share it with others.