I like it when good habits can be used in different areas with great results. I realize the you are probably getting blitzed with a lot of Thanksgiving information over the last few weeks and into this week. Regardless of your spiritual orientation, you will probably spend some time, especially on Thanksgiving Day, reflecting on what you have received, temporally or spiritually, over the last year.
Beyond that, I would like to issue a gratitude challenge to you as a leader. Choose at least five people to whom you can express gratitude for what they do to make your work-life easier. If you are a more factual person, and don’t like the ‘warm-fuzzy’ stuff, and think that this is all a bit too much, let me share some brief evidence:
The Gallup Organization has a marvelous tool, the Q12 survey, (q12.gallup.com)which has millions in the data base, which indicates that one of the 12 key components for employee engagement is knowing that someone appreciates their work.
High Reliability Organizations train their professionals to engage in a 5-1 positive to negative comment ratio in order to build the trust and morale necessary to excel as an organization.
The research from John Gottman’s relationship studies indicate that people thrive best when a 7-1 ratio of positive to negative comments exists.
You, as a leader, can’t get away from the fact that people thrive when they know their work is part of a bigger cause and that they are a key part of that cause. Before throwing the principle away due to being over-simplistic, try it for the rest of the year. As noted above, pick out five people that will benefit from that focus. Make the comments specific. Make the comments sincere. Make the comments more than once. Focus on these five people. Note the changes in their behavior.
Just the other day, the lead physician of a highly successful clinic shared with me how she had noticed that the simple comment of “you are running this front end of the clinic better than I have ever seen it run”, made to the staff who are the first impression of the clinic to the public, completely changed how they interacted the rest of the day.
A little too fluffy to believe? Don’t argue with the evidence, both factual and anecdotal. Experiment with it. Then make it habit. Leaders do simple things on a patterned basis that over time produce marked results.