As the year comes to a close it’s natural to reflect. For many, this means focusing on accomplishments and the people who have helped us achieve our goals. While reflection is useful, showing thanks and appreciation is imperative to great networking. Displays of recognition do not have to be grandiose; gratitude can be demonstrated in many ways. The smallest token of appreciation often has the most significant impact.
I genuinely enjoy recognizing my colleagues, family, and friends, and I’m always considering new and creative ways to show my appreciation. A few years ago, I hit the jackpot. When my team held my traditional birthday ‘surprise’ meeting, I directed the surprise back toward them. Arriving armed with a small speech of gratitude for each team member, I proceeded to outline in detail each team member’s contribution to my work and my life over the course of the year. The reaction was heartwarming; lots of laughter, and some tears. The endeavour was so successful, I decided I would extend the ritual to include my family and friends the following year. Conveniently, my birthday falls near the holiday season so when I distribute cards to my colleagues, friends, and family the words I’ve prepared in their honour are included.
That’s one unique way to recognize the people who are important to us. Below are 5 tips for recognizing others with impact:
#1 ACTIVELY LOOK FOR THINGS PEOPLE ARE DOING WELL
It's amazing how we find what we are looking for. We’ve all had negative leaders and colleagues, looking for all the things people are doing wrong and pointing them out endlessly. Conversely, positive people will generally see life through a different lens; they recognize the good in people, and interestingly, it seems good things happen to these types of people much more often.
#2 MAKE TIME
It may sound odd, but I set aside time dedicated to recognition each week, and think through who I need to email, call, or text to cast light on a job well done and to let them know I’m thankful for it. If you need to, make time in your calendar for this activity.
#3 SPREAD THE WORD
It’s wonderful to send team members notes of thanks or corporate recognition and awards, but it’s even better to copy their line manager. This way, they don’t have to look boastful in order for their leader to be aware they’ve done a great job.
#4 ENCOURAGE RECOGNITION ON YOUR TEAM
The most impactful leaders I’ve seen include recognition at the top of team meeting and one-to-one meeting agendas. This exercise encourages positivity and sets a powerful tone for each meeting. It can positively impact a team’s culture by encouraging team members to focus on positive reinforcement as a general practice.
# 5 MAKE IT PERSONAL AND DETAILED
Quite opposite from constructive feedback, accolades benefit from detail, the more specific the acknowledgment the better. Vague recognition can feel insincere. Greater specificity will enhance the recipient's impression you've genuinely noticed, listened and engaged.
There is no expiration date on recognition; know that it’s never too late.If there’s someone who you’ve overlooked as things got busy and life simply got in the way, take a few moments during that time you’ve set aside in your calendar and send them a short email or text. Speaking from experience, people will really appreciate it. You can even do it…now!
It’s always beneficial to find new ways to make the people around us feel valued, so please feel free to add your ideas in the comments section below. Happy Holidays everyone, and thank you for reading.
I look forward to reconnecting with more tips and tricks in the New Year!
Amy Davies is Founding Partner of the Firefly Group of Companies. She is a writer, professional speaker, insights expert and corporate trainer. Amy lives in Toronto, Canada with her children and partner.