The Work Sharknado gnashes your good intentions to bits!
An unrelenting torrent of projects needs your guidance, a storm of less than delighted (i.e. irate) customers expects answers from you, and a pile up of high priority demands from your boss and the executive suite screams for your attention.
When can you find the time to thank your hard working team?
Don’t let the Work Sharknado blow your appreciation intentions into disarray.
Counterattack with this simple one-word approach:
Execute on this and you’ll be able to give yourself back the time you need to show gratitude to your team. Here are 3 imminently do-able suggestions — these will also net some side benefits that’ll take you and your team’s effectiveness sky high.
1. Turn Your Office Hour into A “Thank-You” Office Hour
For your stream of office hour visitors, start each conversation with a word of appreciation. Don’t let the issue of the day cloud over and make you forget to express your appreciation!
On the flip side, (yes, hard to admit) there were quiet times during my weekly drop-in office hour when I wasn’t reeling anyone from the team in. Maybe this happens to you, too?
Don’t succumb to temptation to use that time to attend to your own work (I know the temptation myself!). Re-purpose those minutes into productive staff appreciation time.
Fill out your company stationery or a few blank note cards (which you’ve bought previously and stashed in your desk) with your sincerest “merci” to a team member or two. Then personally deliver these notes straight to the recipient!
No stationery? You forgot to buy note cards? No worries. Text or call instead. Email can do in a pinch, but it can get lost in that ocean of an inbox, even if the email is from “the boss”.
Ready to cast your net wider?
Take your entire office hour on tour!
Science and plain old observation contend that saying “Thank You” face-to-face is powerful.
Get out of your chair. Sail out of your office. Visit those shyer members of your team who don’t make it to your weekly office hour.
Ask what they need and how you can help. Find out what excites them about their job or what keeps them up at night. And say “Thank You”. If you’re stuck on how to say “Thank You”, here are suggestions from me and from Leaders such as you.
Your “Office Hour Thank You Tour” will not only provide you with a way to successfully execute on your appreciation intentions, you’ll experience these collateral benefits, too:
- Uncover Hidden Challenges: You’ll understand better what challenges your team is battling, meaning you can provide spot-on, bull’s eye guidance. You may even find challenges you didn’t know existed and be able to address these before they become unmanageable.
- Increase Communications: More team members will be encouraged to drop by your “in-office” office hours because they’ve gotten to know you and see that you don’t bite! As Lolly Daskal tweets: “It’s important for your organization to see you as human.” and your office hours on tour will help with that.
— Lolly Daskal (@LollyDaskal) December 17, 2014
- Get Healthy: Studies have shown sitting may be as detrimental as smoking! You’ll be setting an example for having a healthy body, healthy mind and healthy mood — all benefits of being a “walking meeting” adopter. More info here from CBS News.
Your Office Hour is an hour dedicated to your staff. Re-purposing this time to focus on actively showing your appreciation makes sense.
2. Dedicate 10 Minutes from your Direct Reports Meeting to Write Thank You’s
If you are having difficulty executing on your appreciation intentions, most likely your Direct Reports are too. Help them because that’s what bosses do.
Carve out the first 10 minutes from your Direct Reports Meeting and ask each of them (and yourself) to write Thank You’s to your team members.
Giving staff appreciation the #1 spot on your meeting agenda gives it the priority it deserves — and ensures execution of your appreciation intentions. Bring those blank note cards from your desk to share, in case your Direct Reports forget to bring theirs.
Here are the benefits to adopting this approach:
- Doing More In Less Time: When you have to get all the usual business done with 10 minutes less time, your Direct Reports Meeting will become more efficient and focused.
- Knowing Your Team More Deeply: When you’re writing Thank You’s, you can’t help but talk about the recipient of your note. You and your Direct Reports’ pride in your organization will naturally grow! Learning more about each team member in your organization is helpful for performance review time when all are vying for that small budget of salary increases and those few high ratings on the curve.
- Living The Power of Empowerment: You may not realize it, but you and your Direct Reports are implementing a culture change (a culture of appreciation!). You’ll discover that you can effect significant change, even if you and your Directs aren’t the CEO and his/her Directs. A lesson in empowerment at its best!
3. Transform Your “All Hands” Meeting into An “All Hands Thank You” Meeting
Why limit the thank you’s from you and your Direct Reports?
Get everyone into the act. Set aside time at your next All Hands Meeting for an appreciation exercise. Better yet, dedicate your entire All Hands Meeting to this!
Your appreciation exercise can be as simple as asking each neighboring team member to express a “thank you”. Preface this with some examples and start the exercise with you and your Direct Reports.
Or get more elaborate and model your appreciation exercise after the popular Secret Santa Gift Giving Exchange. (Note: You can do this exercise any time, not just in December!)
Instead of leaving presents, Secret Santa leaves notes of appreciation. Secret Santa may not know his/her recipient but don’t let this deter any Secret Santa. You and your Directs or other managers and your admin staff can help with that. In the reveal at your All Hands Meeting, Secret Santa would bring one last note or token of appreciation. You, as the host of your All Hands Meeting, would supply the snacks to make this event celebratory.
Showing gratitude becomes fun — and a demonstrable core value!
- You’ll find those Secret Santa notes of appreciation pinned up at desks around the office. How cool is that? Long past the event, team members will be reminded of their value and contribution from their peers. Your entire team’s spirits will be lifted.
- Highlighting appreciation in your All Hands Meeting tells and shows your team that this is a core value for your organization — and by extension, you’ll be embedding this core value within your future leaders. This will be a gift that keeps on giving!
Ready to Re-purpose & Turn Intentions into Tangible Thank You’s?
Examine your own schedule for time to re-purpose. Turn your found time into appreciation action. Your team will be swimming in gratitude and you and they will be taming the Work Sharknado into your pet goldfish.
Let me know how it works out for you. Love to hear your thoughts on your re-purposing results and your ideas! Please do share in the comments and please remember…
#TakeThisMoment to find the time because
leadership is more than intention
~ Jackie Yun