Got your holiday shopping done yet? That’s a common question at this time of year and one that usually causes my eyes to roll up in my head. Like many people, I’m prone to procrastination. As well, something in me resents commercially driven pressure to max out my credit card.
Eventually though, I manage to rise to the occasion long enough to consider and buy things meant to delight my loved ones and please my friends. After all, it is not the gift itself that is the reward. It is the happiness element that comes with it that makes gift -giving so much fun.
I like the idea of happiness being the real gift and I think it translates well too, when it comes to exchanging gifts at work. Of course, it is always a little more challenging to give meaningful gifts to people at work, but here are a few ideas to consider. They cost nothing. They can have lasting effects. And, to the best of my knowledge, they aren’t fattening.
The Gift of Attention
Give a few minutes of your undivided attention to each of the people you lead, each day.
That means spending the time listening, being curious about their interests, thoughts and opinions and suspending judgment long enough to learn something about them that you might otherwise miss.
The Gift of Inclusion
Take a little time to remind those you lead, why you come to work everyday. Give them the big picture (even if you’ve done it before) and show them how they fit into it as individuals. Yes, I know, it’s the old vision thing again. But, believe me, when people can see where they are going and that there is a place for them on the proverbial bus, that creates some happiness.
The Gift of Challenge
Consider those you lead and give each a challenge for the New Year that will allow them to stretch, grow, and learn more about themselves and what they can do.
I hazard to say that everyone likes a challenge. It gets the juices flowing and allows us to test our boundaries. Giving the gift of challenge suggests faith in each person’s capability and potential. And, its value is that much greater at times when the individual doubts or fears his or her own possibilities.
The Gift of Encouragement
Of course challenge on its own can become onerous if not accompanied by encouragement and the support that goes with it. So, with each gift of challenge, include whatever each person might need to accomplish it, including resources, education, training or a friendly ear. That will ensure the highest possible opportunity for success and resulting happiness.
The Gift of Truth
Find ways to convey to those you lead that you will always be straight with them no matter what the circumstances. And then make sure you follow through.
Leaders who are truthful, both in good times and bad also give the gift of useful information. Useful information allows people to make good decisions for themselves. Being Truthful with them acknowledges their capability to respond as adults. It is respectful. And, even if the news is not good, it gives them their best opportunity to work through it and find satisfying resolutions.
The Gift of Graciously Receiving
It is more often the case that we learn to give (and know the satisfaction of doing so) much before we learn the importance of receiving with grace. Part of the pleasure of giving lies in experiencing the response of the receiver. So many of us are hard-wired to discount the value of gifts we are given by suggesting we don’t deserve them or worse, don’t want them. For instance, at work, being gracious when you receive feedback, offers of help or another perspective is important. You don’t always have to agree but you owe it to yourself, and to the giver, to be thoughtful and kind in your response.
That’s what I think anyway. What do you think? What gifts would you add?