It's Friday. Your staff is mentally transitioning. They're thinking about the weekend. As leaders (and co-workers!), it's pretty common for us to ask, "Got anything fun planned?" But over the years I've added another question to the mix, and it's proved really helpful in building team morale and productivity.
"What one thing are you most proud of getting done this week?"
I love asking this question for the following reasons:
A) It lets each team member brag a little about something they worked hard on.
B) It helps other team members understand the contributions each one is making to the organization's greater mission.
C) It gives me the opportunity to compliment them on their hard work. Or, if they had a bad week and feel like they didn't accomplish something they're proud of, I'm able to let them know things will be OK. As I tell my team, "We don't do brain surgery or rocket science here. So, no reason to get too stressed."
But most importantly...
D) It gives me a chance to set the tone of their weekend.
Why is "D" so important, you ask?
No matter how stressful or busy our week was, I want employees to leave on a positive note. Work is where they spend a third of their lives each week. It's part of their identity. It's something they talk about with friends and family over the weekend. Making them feel good about what they do and where they do it is very important to me. I want them spreading messages of satisfaction and happiness when they talk about work. In the words of Maya Angelou:
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Replace the word "people" in that phrase with the word "employees," and you see the power of my Friday tip.
As a leader, I believe I have an incredible responsibility to uphold.
Leaders have a major impact on how employees feel when they leave the office. Using techniques to ensure they know their contributions matter and are appreciated is one of the best employee-retention tools I know of. Making it a habit to ensure a positive message is in place every Friday is free and easy. That's why I love doing it!