People are made of two things: Hardware and software.
Let me explain.
Your hardware is your character. It’s your personality and your work ethic. It’s how you make decisions and treat other people.
Software, on the other hand, represents your skills. You can “download” software to learn something new. You can seek out “updates” to improve and make yourself better.
Software can be created, changed, and improved. A person’s hardware, however, is pretty static. Once we’re in the workforce, our character and work ethic are difficult to modify.
The point I want to make is this: As a leader for my company, I can tell my team to download all kinds of software. All of that software is useless, however, If the hardware isn’t able to run it.
How praise and gratitude go together
If there’s one piece of hardware that I think is absolutely vital in a new team member, it’s gratitude.
A majority of the workforce is disengaged. Recent polling says only about one third of Americans are engaged at work. It’s been that way for a long time. Here’s why:
Let’s say someone is assigned 10 tasks. They do 9 out of 10 tasks correctly. More often than not, people are chastised for the one mistake instead of praised for the nine successes.
At Accord, our mission is to create remarkable experiences by rebuilding homes and building lives. We can’t create a remarkable workplace experience without regularly showing gratitude and praising success.
That’s why we take the time to recognize good work. Every year, we fly the company out to an awards banquet and hand out dozens of awards and prizes. We thank our people for their contributions. We make sure they feel valued and appreciated.
Focus on your strengths
We have a sign on the wall in all of our offices across the country. It says, “Focus on strengths – focusing on weaknesses is for amateurs.”
If you want to create a workplace full of thankfulness and gratitude, you need to focus on the expertise of your team.
A successful team is made up of people that are different from one another. That means there will be people that are better than others at certain tasks – maybe even better than you.
That’s a good thing.
Once you learn that someone is really good at something, give them more opportunities to do it!
Don’t waste all of your resources trying to make them better at other tasks. Instead, capitalize on their expertise. Surveys like Gallup StrengthsQuest and Culture Index can be extremely helpful in this process of understanding your team members. Studying the results of these surveys literally changes the way we interact on a daily basis.
There are always opportunities to “get better” at being thankful. Here are a few tips that have worked well for me: