Here are five simple ways for love to win the day at the office:
1 – Don’t engage in the gossip. There are companies, big ones, that will fire you on the spot if you are caught gossiping. But man it feels good to get sucked into, or even initiate, the latest scoop, scandal and back stab. But gossip is one of the quickest ways to destroy office culture. When a colleague initiates it, be swift and decisive. Shut it down. Sure it may be painful in the moment, and you may even get removed from the ‘club’, but over time you’ll actually gain amazing loyalty and trust because people know how you operate.
2 – Ask a personal question every day. Pay attention to how many times you’re asked a personal question that doesn’t involve weekend plans or weather. My guess is that it will be zero. It’s really not that hard, but ask your colleagues something personal tomorrow. Anything. Here are a few ideas: What is your family’s favorite vacation spot? What’s the best book you’ve read lately? Any good parenting tips for me as we potty train our son? People love to talk about themselves, they’re experts at doing so. Initiate real, authentic questions and watch their reactions.
3 – Give a rip. It’s amazing to me that we spend 40+ hours a week with our team, yet we’re quick to throw each of them straight under the bus to management. Step up and give a rip about their work and their investment to your projects. Display that you have their back. They’ll never forget it because most people are simply using them along their own stepping stones to success.
4 – Tell someone they rocked. In email, in the hall, at the mandatory meeting. Doesn’t matter when, but tell someone that they did an awesome job. Preferably someone lower on the food chain than you and preferably in a place where someone above them hears the praise. Your colleagues are likely operating out of fear and uncertainty. If you take the time to notice something specific about the work they’ve done, it will give them amazing amounts of encouragement.
5 – Take the blame. Raise your hand and say you screwed up. That you were wrong. That you blew it. Especially if you’re a leader. It will empower your team and create a culture of honesty if you own your mistakes. This will display to your team that the goals of the project are more important than your self-identity protection.
Take a stab at one or more of these this week and let me know how it goes.
Love your team today, they deserve it.