It seems to be so easy to tell others what they are doing wrong, what you wish they would do better and what you need them to do for you…that we overlook the important component of taking the time to let others know what we love and appreciate about them.
Think for a minute about the others that work with you. When was the last time that you shared with one of them a note of gratitude or a word of thanks? As a school principal, there were over a hundred staff members in my building. I often would tell myself that I should stop and write a note to a particular staff member, but my thoughts and intentions were often better than my actions. How could I, as a leader let those I work with know sincerely what it was that I specifically appreciated about them? How could I encourage other staff members to also take a minute to do the same?
There was a quote in a video that I watched last night, which was powerful:
“Thanksgiving calms our complaints and gives us joy.”
Do you hear a lot of complaining at work? If so, maybe your organization needs a dose of heartfelt thankfulness. As a leader, all you need is a plan to encourage your staff to be thankful and share the love with one another. One February during our monthly staff meeting, I decided to embrace this concept. At the beginning of the meeting, I tried to let the teachers and staff know that our success was due to their dedication, diligence and love for children. I passed out small heart shapes with starter sentences on them. Each person was required to write at least one note to someone and most people wrote multiple notes. I allotted 5 minutes for this activity and the notes were short, but impactful. Each person had a staff list available so that they would think beyond the faces in the room at the time. At the end of the five minutes, we took up the notes and delivered them on Valentine’s Day.
I know that the people who received the notes were grateful, because they let me know how much the notes meant to them. What surprised me though, was how good everyone felt after writing the notes, knowing that they were going to make someone’s day!
As a leader, you can also create a group note of thanks or a poem to attach to a piece of candy or small gift for your staff members. There are two samples below, one of which accompanied a heart shaped stress ball.
Take a minute and look around you. Who could you lift up a bit by letting them know you appreciate them? Complaining about something? Find someone or something to be thankful for. Look for your co-worker that perhaps you aren’t on the greatest terms with and look for something positive about that person that you could share with them. Discouraged with your job? What are the things about your job that you love? Focus on those things and share a little love!