Can you name what your proud moment was of the week? How about last week? I can tell you that this week I am so proud of the work one of my newer clients is doing on her own self-awareness. The week before that, I was beaming with pride over my three-year-old son’s infectious enthusiasm over swim lessons. Just thinking about these fulfilling moments makes all of the hard work worthwhile.
This is a great practice to use not only for yourself, but with your team. As a leader, you set the tone for what you think is important for the group and if you prioritize recognition, collaboration, and pride in work consistently and publicly, that is what you will get. Simply stated, what you focus on grows.
Learn Your Team’s Proud Moments
I have known some leaders to use the “5:15 Report” method. This is a report where at the end of the week, everyone on the team emails a short report to their leader that takes no longer than 5 minutes to read, and took no longer than 15 minutes to write. The report should include a mix of what’s going well, what needs attention, and a proud moment of the week. There are other ways to get these types of updates, but how often do you capture the proud moments otherwise? They can be personal or professional, and it offers a chance for people to share how proud they are that their son was named student of the week, that they adopted a new dog, or that presentation they did was just how they wanted it.
Not only is it sharing what you are proud of, but it is a practice in recognizing gratitude for the things that have happened. By asking your team to reflect on their proud moments, you are giving them the opportunity for that deliberation and the chance to share their pride with you when they might not do so otherwise. As a leader, it was always fascinating to me to hear what small work projects my team put a ton of heart into, and it helped me be sure to recognize their efforts in a way that was meaningful to them.
If you find someone on your team that isn’t able to come up with something that they are proud of, then you have an issue that needs to be addressed. This is an opportunity to dig into the culture and engagement of your individual team members. There could be any number of things holding them back from feeling proud of their work or other personal successes, but this is your opportunity to connect with them one-on-one and ask them about it. Here are a few powerful, open-ended questions that you can ask a member of your team in person that is struggling to find pride and recognize wins:
- What are you feeling great about at work?
- What doesn’t feel like a good experience currently? (And what else?)
- What do you need?
- What can I do to help make you feel more supported?
One way to spark more open, honest, two-way sharing is for you to share your proud moments with your team as well! The 5:15 Report or other ways you gather information doesn’t have to be one way. Sharing what you see going well, and what you’re proud of is an important glimpse into your thoughts for your team to get to know what you really care about too.
Examine Your Own Proud Moments
If you are the person who can’t come up with anything that you are proud of, that is okay. And totally normal. What are perhaps some quick wins that you could work on to give your energy a boost in the short term? I also invite you to examine that for yourself and answer a few questions:
- What’s the real challenge here for you?
- What is holding you back?
- What scares you about that?
- What’s another way to look at that?
Once you have identified and addressed your own roadblocks, returning to the activity of looking for something going right and your proud moments often bears fruit and you are able to see that in fact all is not lost.
Write them down. Keep a log. Share them with your team. Share them with your boss (whether they ask for them or not). What you focus on grows, so if you focus on your own pride of work, it will grow and spread to those in your orbit.
Once you start to talk about and share your proud moments, a fascinating thing will happen. Others will better understand how you tick. You will better appreciate what fires up your team. Everyone will be in a better place for understanding, collaboration and support. All because you asked a small question, and stuck with it.
About the author:
Katie Rasoul is the Chief Awesome Officer for Team Awesome, a leadership coaching and culture consulting firm. Find out more by visiting www.teamawesomecoaching.com or join the Team Awesome Community for awesomeness coming straight to your inbox. Follow Team Awesome on Facebook and Twitter.