When I passed by a soccer field last week I was reminded of the soccer parent experience which included trophies for every team member every season. This phenomenon was thought to instill confidence and bolster self esteem. I admit that I willingly supported this practice along with all too frequent feedback of "Good Job!!" - regardless of the complexity or time required to complete the task or to produce a positive outcome. Many of us now question this approach to acknowledgement which is really often misguided praise. As with anything that becomes expected, rote or routine, words or actions can lose significance and meaning. In an almost reverse reaction to this trend, it seems that many organizations forget, ignore, or don't care to offer praise or acknowledgement for tasks or effort. Most people I work with are motivated by true recognition of their contribution or worth to an organization and value a simple "thank you" - especially when tied to a specific outcome or effort. As the official season of Thanksgiving approaches, consider these three ideas to help revitalize your workplace:
Find ways to authentically acknowledge your teammates. Adopt a practice of acknowledging each other in team meetings.
Look for ways to express your appreciation of how people show up for work by noticing the qualities of being that they exhibit (e.g. courage, determination, a commitment to excellence, etc.) and not just what they get done.
Consider creating a gratitude calendar where anyone can write what they are thankful for and make that a cause for celebration.
As we continue to search for ways to create cultures of engagement and satisfaction, don't forget about or underestimate the power of gratitude and thankfulness. And, let the words "good job" or "great job" be how we answer when someone asks us to describe our workplace and work. Have a Happy Thanksgiving this month and throughout the year!