My heart was beating so hard I thought it was going to jump out of my chest. Thump. Thump. Thump. The tick of the clock seemed to match the beating of my heart. Staring at the clock, waiting for the hands to click to fifteen past the hour—the time in which I knew Natalie would arrive and my coolness factor could go up exponentially. Anxiety started to creep in. I begin to sweat in places that you shouldn’t have sweat when you are 12 years old.
The aroma of cream cheese strawberry cupcakes hung in the air. In the distance you could hear the desperation fall from the mouths of all the students in the class.
Wondering to themselves and then out loud with friends if they would be chosen.
Speculating. Waiting. Wondering.
I was in the same space. I thought to myself, “I wonder if I will be special enough to be thought of. Would someone select me?” As soon as Natalie entered our classroom in her official duty as the Valentine’s Day Rose Delivery Team, the room of chattering kids stopped.
The anticipation was killing everyone. As she reached in her basket and pulled out a bushel of beautiful red roses with tiny squares of notes attached—she began to hand out the roses and call people by name. “Carla – here you go. Ralph – looks like you’re loved,” she said as she handed him three brightly colored red roses.
My anticipation was met with disappointment as she handed out the last red rose and it didn’t have my name on it.
“This stinks,” I thought to myself. I was embarrassed and ashamed.
In hindsight, I felt like one of the ladies on the Bachelor who didn’t get a rose and must start the walk of shame while all the other ladies were swooned over.
When it comes down to it. I was really yearning for one thing: Acknowledgement.
I was waiting all day to be acknowledged. I wanted a rose to prove that I mattered. Mattered to someone. That I was valuable, popular, and a part of the “in-crowd”. That someone thought enough of me to invest their time, money, and attention.
I fundamentally believe that most of life’s important lessons can be traced back to what you learn in middle school.
At 12 years old, I understood what folks in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond needed from their leadership.
Acknowledgement. Showing that you’re valued.
When it comes to your leadership—the folks on your team are looking for the same. You want to create a culture of care—they will CARE when you show them that you CARE. Are you acknowledging them? In other words, are you showing them love? Do you show them that they matter and are valued? Showing them is a way of supporting your team in the workplace.
Here’s 3 ways to show some love as a leader:
Tune Into Them—Get to know the folks on your team personally. What are their interests? What are the names of their children or pets? What do they like to do in their spare time? I’m not saying that you need to get overly personal and get all in their mix. As a leader, you will be seen as more effective and highly regarded when you show you care by taking interests in what matters most to your team.
Give Genuine Positive Feedback— It’s human nature to focus on what’s going wrong. How about turning that around and focus on what’s going right? Catch people doing something positive. And then TELL them! Be specific in your feedback. “Pam, I noticed that you created a very impressive report. Thanks for taking the time to work so hard.” (Bonus— use their name. Dale Carnegie said, “The sweetest sound to someone is the sound of their own name.”) It makes it a more personal connection.
Be like Scotch Tape: Transparent & Sticky— Are you keeping your team in the loop on important updates in the company? Do they feel like they are involved and included? Do you share career development opportunities, promotions and impactful work as evenly as you can? We’ve all been there, transparency can be challenging. The mantra I recommend is to, “Share what you can.” If there are elements that are not shareable– by all means keep those close to the visit. Feeling accepted and included goes a long way in developing a kick-ass results oriented team.
What are other ways that you show love to your team? Share your thoughts below.