Instead of Firing Employees, It is time to Love them!

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For a lot of people around the world, today is a day that marks the celebration of love and lovers. The origin of the festivities are not clear though. You can find a lot more about the potential origin story of the day here or here.

There has been a lot of people being let go from their jobs in the last few months. On top of that, given the current socio-political-economic situation that we are living in, I would not let any opportunity to celebrate go by.

So, the question I want to ask or explore today is the following – As leaders how can we celebrate this day with our teams? Here are some of my thoughts about how we can celebrate the day with our teams:

1. Buy some gifts

If you have some budget to spend, bring some cake or chocolates or flowers or anything else that you could use to celebrate anything with the team. I strongly believe that teams that eat or celebrate together, tend to stick together. So, as a leader, I never want to let any celebratory opportunity go by without celebrating it with the team. This is probably the easiest thing that we could do.

2. Use the office coffee

Sometimes, we are working on strict budgets and so we may not be able to buy anything. In that case, I think it might be a good idea to bring together everyone over a cup of coffee and still celebrate the day with some music and conversation. What is more important here is to come together and create a good memory together. This is pretty straightforward as well.

3. Personalised Note

Write a handwritten note or a doodle (if you like to doodle) for all your people. Each one individualised to them, talking about why they are special and how much you appreciate them being on your team and the value that they bring to the table for the entire team. The key here is to be authentic and real.

This has an added advantage of training us to be open and looking for all the great things that each one on the team does and bring to the table. Generally, we tend to expect good work and are almost always looking at finding faults.

Leaders, who can focus on the good work that their people do and pay attention to them in addition to the faults are likely to get better engagement and retention than those who only focus on finding the faults.

4. Spend time with the team

If we really want to make this special for our people, we could put in a bit more effort and planning. I am going to assume that, as a leader, you already know what each one of your people really appreciate and more importantly need right now.

For some, it could be as simple as a hug. For some, it could be a pep talk. For some, it could be a shoulder to cry on. For some, it could be having a difficult conversation. For some, it could be about giving back sometime so they can go and take care of something.

For some, it could be about making a connection, that could help them in their career or a problem that they are trying to solve. For some, it could be about sending them on a training or a book or a course or a link to a podcast / video or a story that they need to listen to.

The idea is that we give people what they really need right now in their lives. If we have budgets, we use them. If we don’t, we come up with a creative solution to still get them something useful and impactful that they really need right now.

5. Solve a problem together or go for a win

If we really want to go all in (and who does not want to), lets use the day to inspire them and help them feel better, do better and be better and all of them together. This might mean that you pick a problem that the team or someone on the team has been struggling to solve or find a solution to, and spend the time and effort to solve it together. There is nothing better than the team feeling the high of having worked and solved a difficult problem together.

In conclusion:

In conclusion, if we really want to become and be a leader worth following, we need to find and leverage every single opportunity to engage our teams in many different ways, such that, we are able to engage their imagination, intuition using interaction, and do so intentionally and in the process inspire them such that they aspire to become and be better individuals.

Another way to look at this is to engage their minds (intellect), body (intuition) and heart (emotions). When we get this right, you will find that the side effect is that the team forms an intense bond with each other and in the process learn to get better at solving difficult problems together.

PS: I did write about how to wish your customers a Happy Valentine’s Day some time back. You can check it out (if you work in a customer facing role) here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mukesh Gupta
I currently work for SAP as Customer advocate. In this capacity, I am responsible to ensure that the voice of the customer is being heard and play the bridge between customers and SAP. Prior to joining SAP, I have worked with different organizations serving in different functions like customer service, logistics, production planning & sales, marketing and business development functions. I was also the founder-CEO of a start-up called "Innovative Enterprises". The venture was in the retail & distribution business. I blog at http://rmukeshgupta.com.

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