For many people, one of the primary characteristics of good leadership is open communication. This shows up as transparency in the company’s health and vision, ability to connect on an interpersonal level, and also in providing feedback for the growth and development for your team.
Because of the fast-paced environment that we live in, unfortunately, the feedback cycle is often minimized or left to only performance improvement discussions. This can leave team members feeling unmotivated, unappreciated and under-valued because of our general human desire to be appreciated at the core.
Performance discussions are also often only held at year-end creating a significant gap in an employee’s ability to improve their performance or to confidently continue doing the great things that they are already doing.
So rather than focus on these discussions once or twice a year – or when an employee has done something that requires improvement feedback right then and there – why not take the time to really invest in your team and celebrate both the good and the bad.
How exactly does one celebrate the GOOD and the BAD?
Because we tend to not celebrate either (or maybe just the good from time to time), let’s dissect this carefully.
Celebrating the Good
When an employee delivers a great presentation, completes a project or demonstrates strong leadership qualities, we should let them know how impressed we are with their actions. When an employee raises their hand to take on a difficult task, or asks a tough question, or meets an even tougher deadline, we should recognize their efforts. And even more than those big moments, leaders need to take the time to celebrate the daily activities with a “great email” or “keep up the good work” pep-talk from time to time too.
For many people, recognition is a driver of their motivation and key to their continued success. For others, self-awareness may not be that high and the positive feedback is a great way to reinforce their efforts. And still for others, that positive praise is a confidence builder to let them know that what they are doing is appreciated and should be continued.
Celebrating the Bad
Even though this seems counter-intuitive, celebrating the bad is equally as important.
Typically, when an employee does something that we may call a mistake or think could’ve been done better, it is easy to scold them, add it to their list of sins for their next review, or engrain it in our memory as another example of them not excelling in their role. Sometimes we address it head on with feedback and guidance for improvement – and other times it gets lost in the shuffle.
Regardless of how that comes up for you, good leadership requires that we take that opportunity to celebrate the chance for improvement. Certainly, this doesn’t mean that we tell them to keep up the “bad” work and do it again, but what it does mean is that we now have the opportunity to support their growth. There’s an old saying that you only grow in difficult times so with every “bad” situation, there’s an opportunity to grow, to do it better, to learn, and to stretch.
The silver lining in these tough conversations is that there is truly the ability to learn better for the next time. So rather than take on the difficult situation with a bad tone, why not celebrate it as their chance to grow and become that much more amazing as an employee and a person.
Celebration is Key to Opportunity
In the good times and the bad, it is important to remember that each situation gives us a moment for reflection. How have we succeeded? How have we learned? How have we demonstrated our strengths? How can we become stronger?
So, the next time you’re interacting with your employees (or family, or friends), take a moment to celebrate whatever is in front of you, using it as a chance to recognize great actions or great growth potential. Regardless which circumstance, you will greatly impact that person and you will both grow because of it.
Thank you Tara Shepard for the inspiration on celebrating the wins!