Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The simplest way to improve morale

Say thank you.

Sounds simple enough, right?

In most businesses across the country, numbers are down and stress levels are skyrocketing. It’s an unfortunate combination that doesn’t do much for employee morale.

Right now, you may not have the money to take your team out for lunch or the company can’t contribute to a recognition program. It’s times like these when you’ll find that sometimes it’s the simplest signs of appreciation that can do an even better job than the fancy stuff.

Showing honest appreciation for the people on your team can do wonders for morale. Whether you stop by their desk to say thanks for their help on that last project or leave a funny greeting card on their desk expressing how much you appreciate all the hard work they put in, simple recognition can go a long way.

I recently came across a great post at Pamela Slim’s Escape From Cubicle Nation where Slim shared a personal story about a day that began with a not-so-pleasant experience at the airport.

She was dropped off almost two hours before her 6:30 a.m. flight, well before Starbucks opened their doors, and had to navigate through a blockade of airport construction. The caffeine-less Slim decided to sit down and write a blog post, but the only topics that came to mind included why mean people suck and sleep deprivation.

Then, almost magically, she received a tweet from a fan of her book: “@pamslim Pam, your book really is an achievement. It’s the best book I have read on the topic and the one I will be recommending widely.”

The message changed her mood right there on the spot. So much of a change that she started thinking of ways to show the same kindness as her tweeting fan.

Now I will look for opportunities throughout my trip to show the same kindness as Daniel, by doing things like:
  • Saying thank you often and sincerely
  • Complimenting someone on a job well done
  • Encouraging to my clients and students
Kindness is not a little thing. It is not fluffy, unicorn and rainbow coachy stuff.

Kindness heals.

I highly recommend it.

The next time someone on your team looks like they’re having a difficult day, use it as an opportunity to share some words of encouragement and appreciation. In the same way it turned Slim’s day around, your words have the power to change their day for the better.

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