26
Nov
08

Thanksgiving-Leadership Style

It’s Thanksgiving Eve and everyone is getting ready to spend time with family over the next few days.  If you’re like some (ok, most) you’re probably not getting much done around the office because, well, it’s the day before Thanksgiving and you’ve already mentally checked out and already have mentally devoured your first plate of turkey and stuffing.  Anyone ready for a nap yet?

But hold on.  Before you reach for the pumpkin pie, take a moment to think about what you are thankful for in your workplace.  Thankful at work?  Yes, thankful at work.

If you are currently or have ever been in a leadership position, WHAT have you accomplished this year?  More importantly, HOW did you accomplish it?  MOST importantly, WHO helped you accomplish and reach those goals?  I’m willing to bet, that it wasn’t all you or your stoic leadership style that got you to where your organization is now.  The people that make or break you, are the people that take up the cause, embrace the vision that you set forth, and follow your leadership.  For better or worse, they have demonstrated what Dr. John Maxwell calls the “Law of Buy-in”.  If no one is following you as a leader, than you are merely taking a nice walk–by yourself.

So, now that you’ve come to grips that maybe you’re not the center of your organization’s universe, how do you say “thank you” to those that follow you and your leadership?  Here’s a couple of ideas:

  1. Tell them early and often-One thing that I started a few months ago was making a goal to tell my team what I truly appreciated about them from the past week.  Sometimes it was the way that they handled a tough phone call, the way that they exhibited professionalism in a tough circumstance, or sometimes it was as simple as thanking a team member for demonstrating that they truly caught and embraced the vision of where we were heading as an organization.  If you want to know exactly how I did this, email me and I’ll give you more specific details.
  2. Believe in them–Let’s be honest.  Down deep, we all have those days that we doubt ourselves.  If you have them, you can bet that your team members have them as well.  Over the past few months, there has been nothing more rewarding for me to know that someone, somewhere appreciates my skills and abilities and believes in me.  My team has demonstrated their belief in me and for that I am truly thankful.  I think this in part, is because I unabashedly, shamelessly, believe in them.  One way to demonstrate this is to share with them WHAT you would like to have accomplished, but not necessarily HOW you want it accomplished.  If you’ve hired the right people to be part of your team, the results will astound you.  This allows your team members to have ownership into whatever project they are working on.  You let them put their personal stamp on a project.  They can confidently and proudly say, “I did that!”
  3. Be specific–When you tell your team members what you appreciate about them and what you are thankful for, be as painfully specific as you can be.  Instead of, “I like the way you answer the phone”, try this, “I appreciate how you always answer the phone with a smile and greet each person that calls like you’ve known them for years.  That sets the tone for each person we talk with to have a pleasant experience when they call us.  Thanks for setting the tone and making our customers feel welcome.”  See specific, not general.

So, there are a few quick ways to express appreciation and gratitude for those that you work with everyday.  Not nearly an exhaustive list, but at least something to start with.

As for me, if you can’t tell already, I’m wild about my team.  The past few months that I’ve had the  opportunity to serve with them has been some of the best of my professional career.  Thanks for coming along on this ride with me.  I can’t say it enough–thanks!

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