As a leader, this year’s bumper sticker should be: "All eyes on you."
With the pressure to show up, massively problem solve, and deliver difficult news, nothing about this year has been simple. What is simple is that there is one tool to keep getting you through the remainder of this year and successful for the future.
It’s not new software or a fancy incentive program.
It’s simply one word: communication.
Your ability to deliver information effectively, efficiently, and empathetically, is the difference between an organization that gets by and one that thrives. Check out these five phrases that you can use today:
"I noticed that you’re really showing up"
Taking a beat to acknowledge your team’s ability to work collaboratively and really be there for each other is totally worth stopping to note. Exhausted and frayed, your team (just like you) is trying to make it through the day-to-day. Stopping to notice their contribution while highlighting your value of team support is going to encourage them to keep at it and feel pride in helping others.
"You really went above and beyond"
Your team does not own your business or nearly have the same investment in its success, which totally makes sense. So when they stretch themselves not only to do their role but make your organization look good or make significant strides in an unassigned project, it’s worth stopping to applaud their efforts. Simply let them know how you specifically see that they are handling more than you ever expected from them and how appreciated that action taking is. You rewarding it allows them to know to keep at that effort, as something that they can leverage and also that supports you.
"I was really impressed with your work on X"
For this one the more detailed you can get the better. State what type of work (ie your graphic design work) and what specific project or side task of a project. Everyone wants to feel noticed, successful, and valued. Being able to pinpoint something that someone did on your team helps that person feel like you really see them, even when your energy is on other projects. It also allows that person to know what you think they do really well. This may encourage them to feel more confident in that task (and possibly do it quicker) and also understand that they have room for more growth in other areas of their role. A savvy team member may take this opportunity to double down on those areas for growth and spend less energy and time where they shine.
"Hey, I’m only human"
In addition to owning your mistakes, owning that you are only a person can be extremely helpful in shifting the power dynamics and encouraging more open and honest dialogue from your team. This is extremely important in your ability to learn new insights about your organization, including new ideas to increase profitability or how your current UX is failing your clientele. Plus, you’re able to role model that we all aren’t perfect, allowing them to watch how you rebound when a mistake happens and then integrate that resiliency in their own struggling moments.
"Tomorrow is a new day"
When your team thinks they are letting you down or not nailing it, no matter how healthy their self-esteem seems this can lead to a total downward spiral of negative self-talk and shame. Being able to hold perspective for your team when projects flop or their contribution fails can help them stay focused on their work and keep moving forward with their projects without stall or standstill. This phrase also holds a tone of optimism, so even if they are not the right person for the role you’ll be able to fully see what they’re capable of first before you take final action.
Team culture always starts with intentionality and with the leader. With these small phrases dashed into your day-to-day comms, you have the ability to foster a more satisfied, more efficient, and more willing team and deepen the culture and camaraderie in your organization.