When was the last time you took a colleague to lunch to show your gratitude for his or her hard work? Do you make a point of regularly saying “thank you” to the people who work for you? Have you ever bought a teammate, who is a hockey fanatic, a collectible hockey card or a mug displaying his or her favourite team’s logo to show how helpful that person was in getting important work done? These small acts of appreciation play a major role in the kind of relationships you develop, and the level and quality of output that you can expect from the people you work with.
Classic research in organizational behaviour conducted in the 1940s found that leadership involves two primary activities: One focuses on tasks, and the other focuses on relationships. The best leaders, and the best coworkers who demonstrate leadership in their behaviour, know that productivity and morale are heavily influenced not only by attending to and monitoring task issues such as deadlines, budgets, project plans and quality standards, but also by paying attention to how we treat the people we interact with on a daily basis at work. They also know that small acts of kindness, appreciation and recognition go a long way towards creating a climate of high performance.