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Leaders – Stop, Look & Celebrate

Last week our leadership team toured six new restaurants in Indianapolis. The highlight of the trip was the opportunity to recognize the outstanding contributions of our restaurant team members.

We thanked Sherrie for packing orders fast and always smiling for her guests. We admired Jesse for his sense of urgency and his pride in keeping the dining room sparkling. We appreciated Titiana for working with enthusiasm at Popeyes, while going to school full-time. We acknowledged Jermiel for being an excellent trainer of new team members.

We gave hand-written notes, pins, awards, and gift certificates. We hugged and we smiled for the camera. For those team members, it was a special day. Many accepted their recognition with tears in their eyes. One team member said to me,

“This is what you work hard for.”

So why is it that over 70% of American workers, according to the Gallup Engagement Study, says that no one has thanked them for their work in the last seven days? Is it a coincidence that 70% of American workers say they are not enthusiastic or committed to their jobs?

Leaders take note! Everyday your team members work diligently to serve the business. In that day, there are dozens of opportunities to notice them doing good work. Pause throughout the day, watch the team work, and find, not faults, but reasons to celebrate each person’s contributions.

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.”
~ John Maxwell

Recognizing people’s contributions is a way to tell them that you care. It doesn’t take much time. It doesn’t cost money. But a kind, sincere compliment can go a long way towards building enthusiasm and commitment for work.

What can you do to transform the workplace for your team? Find everyday ways to celebrate the people.

Here are seven guidelines for celebrating people:

  1. Be specific about what they are doing well. Give an example of what you have noticed and explain why you value that approach.
  2. Be genuine and authentic. Call them by name. Smile warmly. Shake their hand. Give a gentle hug of appreciation.
  3. Give praise publicly. While everyone appreciates private praise, it is special to be complimented in front of your peers.
  4. Write a hand-written note that they can keep or display in their work area to remind them of the moment.
  5. Give a memento or a gift card to add to the fun. It extends the memory of the celebration.
  6. Remember to celebrate different kinds of people: the outgoing, the quiet, the intense, the calm, the creative and the systems thinkers. Each person brings their unique strengths to the team. Let them know that you value their special gift.
  7. Recognize weekly. Frequent recognition shows people your commitment to noticing their good work. Informally, say thank you as many times as you can each day. Formally, use team meetings to celebrate your stand out performers. Put a note on your calendar to remind you each week.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
~ Maya Angelou

Stop, look and celebrate the people.

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