People spend a lot of time focused on getting their work done and rising up the ladder. Sometimes in their self-centered drive they forget the people around them. There's nothing wrong with a little productive narcissism, but every once in a while you need to balance the scales and focus on others to put the universe back in order.
Since she is known for her successful team building and extraordinary employee loyalty, I consulted entrepreneur and The Recipe author Amilya Antonetti on great ways to surprise co-workers and give them an amazing day. Together we created this simple list. Whether you unexpectedly bestow these gifts on one person or a whole team, any one of these ideas should sufficiently delight your colleagues and put karma back in your favor.
1. Bring in baked goods. Nothing gets attention like the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Get up a little early and bring them in while they are still warm. Give them to the team and watch the smiles spread.
2. Write an unsolicited positive recommendation. More than likely there is someone you work with who isn't getting the props they deserve from upper management. Spend some time detailing how this person contributes above and beyond. Show him or her the letter and tell them you are giving it to the boss.
3. Start a round of applause. It sounds silly, but imagine an office where every time someone does something above and beyond, the entire place bursts out in applause. Once you start, everyone else knows what to do, so just get it started and don't stop until the hoots and hollers are deafening. Everyone deserves to feel like a star once in their life.
4. Spring for a nice lunch. Skip the vending machines and the fast food junket. Arrange a surprise lunch at an upscale restaurant. Shower attention on a deserving person with a culinary experience they'll remember for months.
5. Share lottery tickets. The fun of the lottery is the anticipation of winning. Put together a pool of 100 scratch tickets for your team and agree to share the winnings. Scratch them all at once or spread them out over a week and start every day with a little excitement.
6. Arrange for a spa day. You know who the workhorse is. He or she probably hasn't taken a day off in months. Most likely everyone else has been at the top of the priority list for this person and the wear and tear is showing. Prepay the service and make the appointment so he or she can't say no. Watch for the relaxed smile the next day.
7. Ask for advice. People want to feel valued and important, but they can often be passed over in the rush of business. Identify the quiet ones and solicit their opinion on important matters. Make them feel valuable and worthy. They'll be encouraged to voice their thoughts and ideas going forward.
8. Give awards. There is good reason why plaques and trophies have long been a staple of recognition. They make people who receive them feel good about themselves and their working environment. Find the right occasion and purpose to recognize those who contribute with little recognition. More great days will follow when others ask what the award was for.
9. Give up something highly coveted. Maybe your colleague wants your desk chair, aquarium or favorite account. They comment on it every day and check to see how you are enjoying it. Give it up unexpectedly. Tell them you know they will take good care of it and you trust them to enjoy the benefits. Watch the astonishment.
10. Write a heartfelt thank-you note. Few people make the effort to give a physical thank you card anymore. Even fewer take the time to write out in detail the specific points of appreciation. And yet the very act of writing those thoughts trigger such deep emotions of gratitude and fondness that it will be a toss up on who has the most amazing day upon delivery, you or the recipient.
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