My mother always enjoyed the Christmas season. Ever since I can remember, she’d want to pull out the decorations as early as possible and get them up. My dad always said she’d have them up all year round if he’d let her. My mom, Sally, passed away fourteen years ago, and I miss her to this day. I think of her often, especially during this season of the year. What I recall most was she loved giving gifts to others.
I got that same spirit from my mother.
May I invite you to relax for a moment and review seven gifts I believe everyone wants from their leader? Most of you reading this lead something—your family, your sports team, your classroom, a department, a school, or a workplace. I also assume many of you reading this article serve under a leader. You can see both sides of this equation. The following are a handful of gifts everyone wants from their leader that we can and should give ALL year round.
Seven Gifts People Want From Their Leader:
1. Peace – We talk about this every December: peace on earth, good will toward men. I believe we all want this. All team members wish for a healthy, secure, non-toxic work environment where peace of mind rules the day. For some, it will be a rare gift.
2. Direction – You may not believe it, but your team actually wants clear guidance on where you’re going and what they should prioritize. This doesn’t mean we micro-manage them, but rather guide them toward clear objectives. It’s a gift we all need.
3. Appreciation – Surveys show that leaders believe they express appreciation more than their teams feel they do. It’s difficult to overdo this one. Communicating appreciation shows both recognition and empathy toward them. People crave this.
4. Time – Most team members would enjoy a meal or a conversation, where they get time with their leader, just to interact about life. Because your team knows you’re busy, this especially stands out when you give it. Stop, listen, smile, eat and talk.
5. Joy – I believe a fun and joy-filled environment can be fostered by good leaders. In our workplace, we even have a rec room, where we give team members “recess” to take time and play ping pong or cornhole. We laugh a lot and celebrate each other.
6. Responsiveness – This is another skill that leaders assume they do better than their teams believe they do. Most team members do better when there’s consistent and clear feedback from their leader: do they meet expectations? Are they in your favor?
7. Love – Yes, I just said that. I believe communicating healthy love for your team (not in a strange, inappropriate way, but a caring way) is a game changer for people. Most of us find it difficult to do this without being awkward, but folks need it and want it.
May you find ways to give these gifts, not only in December but each day next year.