We all know it’s important to acknowledge a job well done and express gratitude. We also know we should exercise consistently and eat a healthy diet. Just because we know we *should* do something, does that mean you *are* doing it?
How do you carve out time to focus on the office environment and culture when you have competing tasks and deadlines? Schedule it. Create an environment where praise can be given publicly by everyone on the team, not just you. Take the time to set up a culture of appreciation.
We have fun and creative ways here at the Academy to recognize teammates who are doing a great job. We can shout them out on Slack, the tool we use for instant messaging at the office, with a CBA (Caught Being Awesome) post. We have lunch for the entire team after our Summits where we can eat, celebrate the successes at our events and specifically recognize teammates who made an impact.
Most importantly, we make sure that at least once a year we create a space for our team to acknowledge one another in a meaningful and authentic way. In order to deliver this gift and spend time reflecting on the appreciation we have for each person on our team, we ask everyone to write out their acknowledgments PRIOR to our company-wide retreat. As our team has grown, we have found that spending time *before* our meeting sets the tone of appreciation for one another and allows us to not rush through this exercise at the beginning of the meeting. We distribute the acknowledgements to everyone with our retreat packets so they have a copy they can keep. I’ve stumbled upon past acknowledgements when looking for something and it always bring a smile to my face, even years later, to know that others found my work and efforts helpful to them.
Are you ready to incorporate this into your next team meeting or retreat? Here are some questions you can use to prompt your team when working on this exercise:
- Think about who has made your job easier or your life happier this year
- Who has gone above and beyond the responsibilities of their position to help you with something?
- Who has provided you with an attitude adjustment or given you a swift kick in the butt when you needed it?
- In short, what stands out for you about this co-worker?
As you take the time to write something thoughtful about everyone on your team, be sure that you are specific and authentic in your acknowledgement. You are the leader of your firm and brushing over someone’s contributions or giving them generic praise defeats the point of this exercise. Take the time to think through what makes each person a valuable member of your team and how your firm is better because of their contributions.
Bonus tip – Set a reoccurring 15-minute calendar appointment to check in with each person on your team on a regular basis. This personal appointment will serve as a reminder to check on that person’s energy, morale, and provide guidance and praise.
Associate Director, Projects and Event Planning
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
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