The drive to perform is intense–for many organizations, it’s particularly true in
the final quarter of the calendar year. Higher Ambition leaders know that the way to get those impressive results is through deep, authentic, and trust-based relationships with the full range of stakeholders. As Center Executive Fellow Doug Wilsom reminds us in this article, reposted with permission from his website, the first and most essential step is to say “thank you” often.
A high-octane culture powers exceptional performance. Creativity, constructive conflict, disciplined metrics, and accountable follow-up – all are well-known factors of high performance.
Yet in the drive to perform, something important can get lost – gratitude.
This readiness to show appreciation of others is tangible. You can feel it in the room. The higher the appreciation of each other, the greater the comfort with being real and the more likely you are to give others grace when they make a mistake. Sharing gratitude produces positive energy that powers teams to give their best.
Positive psychology shows us that simply expressing gratitude to others on a regular basis can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction. This is true for individuals and for teams. Practicing this habit across an organization will create a self-reinforcing positive loop.
Thanksgiving is the perfect season to reflect on the gratitude you feel for others. Here are three simple things you might want to do this coming week as an expression of Thanksgiving.
1. Put it in writing. Write a note to your team mates and express what you appreciate that they have brought to the team over the past year. It might start with, “Thanksgiving is a time to express our gratefulness. Just a quick note to say thanks for………”
2. Connect with someone challenging. Pick the one person on your team who can be difficult at times. Drop in and visit for a while. Make a point to express your appreciation for the positive qualities they do bring to the team.
3. Celebrate Gratitude. Before a team meeting you lead this week, let your team know you want to take a moment to express appreciation of what each other has brought to the team over the past year. When you meet, go around the room and have the team members express appreciation for each individual’s contribution over the past year.
If you get specific and focus on a quality of each person, it adds even more depth to the conversation. Encourage people to anchor their comments in a concrete example. For instance, “Joan, I’m grateful for your ability to address difficult issues. Without you we would have never effectively addressed the problem with our production schedule but you were tenacious to make sure we had a solid plan to deal with it. Thank you.”
We know teams stay engaged and inspired through challenging work when they have high trust and appreciation of each other. Taking time out to express that appreciation during this season of Thanksgiving will help make thankfulness and gratitude powerful additives to your high-octane team.
Here at the Center for Higher Ambition Leadership, we are grateful for all of those leaders who remember in acts large and small the contributions of everyone who helps build shared success for their organizations and their stakeholders. Engaging heads, hands, AND hearts makes a world of difference.