I have found myself in leadership roles dating back to high school. In the past, I tended to shy away from leadership opportunities because I felt too much pressure for perfection. I thought if things went wrong, that I, the leader, would be at fault. The only problem is, leadership roles aren’t always clearly defined, and sometimes the role falls in your lap.
Tools Leaders Use to Make Work More Memorable
So how do you make sure the experience is a rewarding one for everyone? Here are five tools to remember:
Affirming words can go a long way within a team setting. A good leader makes sure their team knows they are on the right path. By simply affirming the work of teammates, and being encouraging, a leader builds the morale of colleagues and mentees alike. A positive comment could stick with a junior team member for years to come.
I was recently assigned to work with a mentee for six weeks. We were tasked with producing a four-minute radio piece. My mentee was 19 and had much more experience with audio work than I do. I left it up to her to set the tone and pace of the work she did to complete the project. I touched base with her no more than once a week, if at all, letting her know I was available should she need assistance. I trusted that she knew what she was doing. I let her know that, by not micro-managing her process. I trusted she’d get the job done and she did.
No matter the project I’m leading, I always fit in some free time to chat and catch up about things other than the work at hand. The work will be there, but behind every work assignment is a person. A five to 10-minute conversation will not stop production. On another note, I don’t expect people to work constantly. Unless a team member texts me first, I do not reach out past 8 o’clock. People need time to decompress and to do other things.
This may be a bit controversial, but at the end of a project, sometimes I like to reward a person with something special. A gift card to a popular coffeehouse, or a person’s favorite bag of chips or candy, is an inexpensive way to say ‘thank you.’ It also shows that you listen well and pay attention. Gifting someone something that they will enjoy, not only makes them feel good, it makes you feel good when a gift is well-received. Especially if the gift is not expected.
It is so simple, yet it doesn’t happen as often as one would hope. Saying ‘thank you’ is one of the greatest tools a leader can possess. Gratitude goes a long way. It doesn’t always have to be verbal, either. I am a proponent of ‘thank you’ cards. People will remember how you treat them and how they feel around you. Feeling appreciated leaves a lasting impression and typically good-will towards the leader. Thank teammates, often. This may be the most important rule of all. So many people leave jobs, teams, organizations because they felt unappreciated. Saying ‘thank you’ regularly sets a tone that you recognize your team does not have to be there. But that you want and need them around.