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40+ Years of Management Experience Summed Up In 10 Thoughts, Part 8

As we begin to wind down with this series of 10 steps to mighty management, we can't forget something that's so often overlooked.

Thought #8: Celebrate Openly the Success of Others

Once your team sees that you’re willing to get excited with them about their accomplishments, you will usually find team members that are more committed to you and more loyal to the organization. All of us can use a pat on the back sometimes, and employing it publicly is even better. Of course we must be sensitive to those that don’t like the spotlight, celebrating the same person too often, and other situations that we learned about in kindergarten (be kind to everyone, be thoughtful, etc.). But generally, let’s get excited when someone on our team has a victory.

Do you remember when you were small, learning how to tie your shoe or ride a bike? Most of us had a mom, dad or older sibling to cheer us on each time we made a small improvement, which ultimately lead to our mastering the skill. Without someone rallying behind us in the small accomplishments, it’s so easy to give up! If you ever wiped out on your bike as you were learning to ride, you may have reacted in anger, frustration or defeat, determining that you were DONE with this ridiculous and impossible task! However, because someone stood by us reminding us that we would accomplish the goal, we were willing to try it again.

If that doesn’t strike a chord with you, consider a baby learning to walk. Each time those cute little chubby legs wobble and lurch ahead, you’re apt to find a cheering audience and proud faces, even though the result was a hard fall on a diaper-padded backside. But what does that bit of recognition do for the child? They typically end up in a smile and get right back up to try it again. Encouragement like that is needed well beyond those childhood years, but can often be hard to come across. Let’s change that!

At times I hear managers complain that the company doesn’t provide the necessary funds or time to properly recognize an employee, which can certainly be the case. But where is our creativity at such times? How about a note of thanks on the desk of the guy that dealt gracefully with an angry customer yesterday? Or a shout-out during the weekly meeting to the woman on your team that shared an idea that was the catalyst for change? If you’ve got a few dollars to invest, a gift card for lunch or flowers on a gloomy day can change someone’s outlook on their future with the organization. Don’t have the funds? Maybe you can be a “servant for a day” for someone on your team, bringing them coffee, covering an extended lunch hour, or allowing them to bug out 30 minutes early one day as a sign of respect and recognition. Consider what kind of behavior you want to promote, and then celebrate it in simple ways. It’s basic human nature to desire respect for a job well done. Just figure out a way to show them respect in a language they can hear.

TAKE ACTION: First, make a list of the attributes, actions, or attitudes that you would like to see displayed in your team. It’s important to establish our thinking first so that we know what to look for. Then, stay on the lookout for opportunities to offer recognition. Be sure to be fair, finding even the small things that someone on your team has accomplished, so that no one person gets rewarded more (which will quickly lead to animosity). This doesn’t have to be done all the time, but determine that when a team member has some kind of a success, you’re going to make it a special occasion.

Up Next: When one fails, we all fail. When one succeeds, we all succeed.

Kirsten Smith, founder of Made to Thrive Consulting has over 20 years Business Development and Management experience with small and large organizations alike, including those listed among the Fortune 500.

For information on training courses that can help your organization reach the next level, visit or contact Kirsten Smith at

© 2017 Made to Thrive Consulting, LLC. All right reserved


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