I once worked for an organization where the leaders felt the best way to motivate the troops was to hold unrealistic goals over our heads and berate failures to achieve. The bosses felt that our true motivation would be experienced in the financial rewards we realized. Needless to say, that existence was demoralizing.
Today’s great leaders understand that creating a culture where team members are encouraged to innovate, be creative, have autonomy and embrace failure will do far more to attract, retain and develop great talent than a pay raise and a kick in the butt. Leaders who want the best from their team invest their own time and effort in helping each person develop their full potential.
One essential component of building an environment where you and the team flourish to the max is for leaders to have a relentless commitment to celebrating the accomplishments of those around them.
In doing so, leaders are encouraging the forward progress all motivated employees desire. Here are five tips to keep in mind for being a leader who celebrates your team’s success:
1) Start every meeting with success stories. Make it a habit for people to share success stories. Encourage each other with applause and kudos. It brings energy to your meeting and helps build a culture where celebrating wins is number one;
2) Don’t wait for the final tally. It is not necessary to wait until the end of a program, sales, production or budget cycle, securing a new client or successful presentation to recognize success (though that is important). Look for those interim achievements along the way that encourage even more progress.
3) The personal touch. Send e-mails, note cards, phone calls or even small gifts to celebrate. Tailor the recognition to what you know works for the team members receiving the well-deserved kudos.
4) Shout it loud. Tell the story in newsletters, on your web site or on your celebration wall at work (you do have one of those, right?). Praise in public – in meetings, around the water cooler and in the lunch room.
5) Get the big boss involved. Make sure senior leadership is aware of your team’s success. Encourage the boss to attend a staff meeting and offer their congratulations. Copy the higher ups on congratulatory e-mails.
It’s nice to have team dinners, picnics and other larger, festive occasions. However, developing a culture where team members regularly celebrate and encourage the success of others is most importantly built on the foundation of little things leaders do every day.