Having trouble finding the perfect gift (or calculating the perfect amount) to show your employees some appreciation for all that they do throughout the year? ‘Tis the season for bonuses, holiday parties and luncheons—and for some poor Clark Griswold’s of the world—memberships to the infamous jelly-of-the-month club (fans of Chevy Chase’s National Lampoon’s Vacation movies know what I am talking about)! Whether you’re a manager, team leader or the head of an organization, there are infinite ways to show your gratitude. But regardless of what you can afford to give or do for your employees, below are twelve timeless and free gifts that you can give today—and all year long. Best of all, these 12 gifts will be ones that every employee will appreciate:
1. Gratitude Never underestimate the power of the words thank you. Let your employees know that you are aware exactly of what they contribute to your organization and how much they are valued. Thank them with specific terms—citing exactly what their contributions mean to you and what impact they make toward the organization’s goals and mission. And if possible, reward them for their outstanding work.
2. Openness Do not only keep the door to your office open, but keep your mind open as well. Listen to your employees concerns, fears, ideas and thoughts. Admit that sometimes you may not have all the answers and that the great minds you have hired might provide some of them for you.
3. Humility This is a tough one for many of us. We all like to think we got where we are without the help of others. But, the reality is no one does. Along the way we’ve had teachers, friends, parents, colleagues, managers and even subordinates who made us better, pushed us and encouraged us. Admit how much you need and rely on others, and share your own story of how others helped you get to where you are.
4. Guidance Share what you know with others. Take time out of your busy day to make sure others are given the tools they need to succeed. Be a model leader who others can emulate.
5. Kindness We all like to say, “It’s nothing personal—it’s business.” But, for most of us our business is personal. We take what we do for a living very seriously and we want it to be a reflection of who we are and what we stand for. Remember whenever you speak to someone, do so with respect. Tread lightly on the spirits and minds of others. You never know what kind of day a person has had before they answered the phone to talk to you or stepped into your office.
6. Empathy Work hard daily at trying to understand others’ needs, wants, desires, hopes, dreams and fears. Try to take into account as many variables a person is working with before making a judgment and try to show compassion when doling out workloads.
7. Failure Allowing others (and even yourself) the ability to make mistakes means you value learning–and people–above profits and perfection. Let people know it’s OK to fail. Have procedures in place to deal with these shortcomings and ways in which employees can learn from mistakes and move on.
8. Encouragement Be your employees’ biggest fan. Encourage and empower them daily to do the best they can. Create an energy and a can-do spirit that is so infectious it can’t be contained. Let your employees know you are behind them 100 percent and want them to succeed.
9. Trust Do as you say. Walk the talk. Be everything you want your employees to be so they can trust that what you say is exactly what you mean. Employees admire, respect and trust their leaders who meet the same expectations they set for others.
10. Confidence All great leaders share this one quality–an unrelenting belief in what they are doing. They are steadfast in pursuit of their goals and let everyone know exactly where they are going and assure their employees they are just the person to lead them. Employees admire that confidence and strength, just so long as it is tempered by the aforementioned gifts–especially humility, trust and kindness. Keep in mind that confidence without trust or kindness can come off as arrogance.
11. Honesty Be upfront and truthful with your employees. It does no one any good if you only tell them how wonderful they are but never follow up with very clear expectations or ideas how they might improve. Of course, you don’t have to be mean about it–you can do so in a way that makes them want to be better. Be honest about your own limitations as well as the areas you seek to improve. Let your employees know (they probably do already!) that you’re not perfect and you, too, are working at your own shortcomings.
12. Vision Illustrate a clear picture of where you want your employees and company to go. They should all know exactly what the goals are and how success has been defined. Be clear and succinct. Energize people so they want to contribute to a journey that is worthwhile, noble, life-changing and/or exciting.
From all of us at the Xavier Leadership Center, we wish you the very happiest of holidays and a very happy, successful, profitable and healthy New Year! We hope to be seeing you in 2013!
Planning for next year and want to learn more about these gifts or share these gifts with others? Here are Spring 2013 open enrollment programs that may help you and your employees in the year ahead:
Learn how you can become the kind of leader who can inspire, engage and empower others to achieve results and unleash individual and organizational potential.
Learn how to engage others, manage interactions and shape outcomes so you can become a more effective manager and leader.
Create productive day to day interactions and alignment so that everyone achieves their maximum potential …and you attain your desired outcome.
Learn more about all of our 2013 programs!