The long weekend is over and you’re back to work today. As you’re heading into those meetings– remember you’re in the midst of a great opportunity.
Here are 10 things you can do this New Year to get you that much closer to success.
- Celebrate throughout the year. Remember to reinforce behavior and celebrate results. A celebration doesn’t have to cost a dime. It can be as simple as a round of applause and a few congratulatory words. When you see a result where you were not able to see the behaviors that created it simply ask the question, “How did you do that?” That is a perfect lead-in for the person to tell you how hard she worked, how smart or clever she was – and it reinforces the behavior that achieved the desired success. So make the festive season’s cheer and good-will an all-season’s practice.
- Practice the basics of positive reinforcement: Make it sincere, specific, immediate, and positive. If you deliver positive reinforcement in this way, you will make your very presence a positive reinforcement. The benefits of being a positively reinforcing person are that you feel better and your relationship with employees and co-workers makes for a more productive and satisfying workplace.
- Take action. Don’t assume. If you’re an employer, don’t believe employees know you appreciate their efforts just because they receive a regular paycheck. If you appreciate their effort and contributions, tell them! Take the time to ask them how they are doing and actively listen to their answers. Ask about their weekend. If all you can afford this year is a less than large red packet – but if accompanied by a sincere note or words of appreciation, the recipients will understand the positive symbolism of the gesture.
- Let your peers and managers know that the gifts they give to the organization are important too. Smiles usually pay their way forward. Encourage the employees that are helping you create a positive and productive culture in your work-place. Observe who are positive reinforcers themselves – do they appreciate colleagues? Are they generous with compliments for accomplishments? Then find the time to reinforce their efforts – so you can build a positive cycle. Write a positive note; stop by to say, “Great job!” on a helpful effort someone has made; remind someone of how he or she makes the team and the company successful. Chances are the recipients of your actions will be in good spirits for at least the rest of the day.A smile and a thank you for their efforts also make your day brighter
- Customers are people too! With all of the stresses that came with juggling the holidays and deadlines, many of us are on edge, and that includes customers. If customers greet you with complaints, practice active listening and respond with statements such as “I understand why that would be a problem” or “Let me see what I can do for you.”
- Give the gift of time. In this tough economy, some businesses are struggling to stay afloat, so bonuses are out of the question. Possibly a bonus could be a prolonged lunch hour, a shortened work day, or even an extra day off to get some shopping done or to attend a child’s school event. Such occasional considerations for hard workers definitely add cheer throughout the year and are a great way to recognize a job well done.
- Keep up the spirits. No, I’m not recommending drinking on the job. Whenever possible, share good news about the company in a brief meeting or memo. Good news doesn’t always have to be about a monumental result. It can come in the form of a new or prospective client, improved performance, and/or improved results. With bad news barraging us from seemingly all directions, it’s important to talk about the small things that give us hope.
- Don’t fixate on the things that have gone wrong. When people make honest mistakes, they (and the company) suffer the consequences. But everyone makes mistakes. Learn from them, sweep up the pieces, forgive, and don’t label people. Move on.
- Have fun! Do something to make work more fun every day. Share a funny story. Laugh with others. Laughter is good for the soul and good for the workplace. Create challenging, short, work-related goals or accomplishments that inspire teamwork. For example, take score on a measure and set a goal to outsell or out-perform an industry benchmark with a simple, enjoyable reward – like a big meal. Work can be a rewarding game if you set up the right parameters.
- Keep in mind that the most meaningful reinforcement is tied to accomplishments. The accomplishment may be only a small improvement or it can be quite significant, but when there are some change that makes a product or service better or more valuable, recognition of it by others is very meaningful. Too many people ask for too much change before they recognize the improvement. In the beginning positive reinforcement for the smallest change can motivate people to continue working on more improvements.
This content was originally shared by Aubrey Daniels and was updated by Laletha Nithyanandan