One your key jobs as a leader in your company is to help your team, especially your direct reports, feel the progress they are making.
All too often business leaders focus on all that's left to be done, glossing over the very real victories and successes that their team has accomplished. This kills their team's motivation and drive.
I know from direct experience. For years my default setting in my company Maui Mastermind was to keep pushing my team to see all that was left to do and all the myriad of ways that work could be better. I thought I was helping my team perform better. But then one day one of my direct reports, Stephen, called me on it.
"You know David, I just came in here to share a pretty fantastic win with you, but you spotted out four ways I could have done it better. Now I'm leaving feeling like I can't ever make you happy. And I'm not the only one who regularly feels this way. A lot of our team now just wait for you to make your comments before they put in their best work. They figure, what's the point when you're just going to change it on them anyway."
When I got some time to digest what Stephen had told me I was struck hard. He was right, I was the parent who could never be satisfied. I always poked holes into my team's work and glossed past victories to focus on what still needed to be done.
Here are four simple ways to help your team feel victorious. We use these same tools to help our business coaching clients grow into better leaders. This list has been tested and proven to work.
1. Catalog their victories (and remind them of them)
Obviously this requires that you pay close attention to spot and record your team's wins. In your notes, flag victories with a searchable code like "VV" (I use a green highlight flag in OneNote where I keep my notes to quickly show team victories. This makes it easy for you to spot these victories and to celebrate them with your team. Share these wins at the start of team meetings, or in a weekly team email.
2. Recognize that if you don't celebrate you deny your team permission to feel good about their work.
Part of your leadership role is to give your team tacit permission to feel victorious by you modeling celebration of small and large wins along the way.
Inspiring leaders help their team feel like they are winning, like they can do this, like that together they can reach their goals. This empowers your team and brings out their best.
3. Observe your team's growth from over time.
By paying attention to them and really seeing your team members develop over time, you can give them authentic praise for the growth they demonstrate.
"Tina, do you realize that 18 months ago you were here in my office struggling with this challenge, and now you just know exactly how to handle it. It's become easy. Pause for a moment and let that sink in... do you see how far you're come?"
4. Get your team to send out a weekly wins email.
This could be done via email or on your company Slack channel, but every week have each team member share the top wins they accomplished or saw the company accomplish.
Then you can follow up and congratulate your team individually or as a group on these self-reported wins.
Is this a bit of effort? Sure. But it is such a powerful way to get the best from your team. Focus on helping spot the wins your team is accomplishing, shed more light there, and watch the wins grow and expand.
If you enjoyed the ideas I shared, then I encourage you to download a free copy of my newest book, Build a Business, Not a Job. Click here for full details and to get your complimentary copy.