As leaders begin to plan for an exciting new year, we must take the time to show appreciation to our team members for all that they did last year. Why is this so important to do? Thanking our team is more than just showing we value their contribution and commitment to our work. Taking the time to reflect can provide us insight into the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are some ways to go about regrouping and repositioning for the coming year.
- Gather a small group together: Either during a lunch time or a team meeting, assemble your team together to talk openly about what worked and did not work in 2011. Before the discussion begins, make sure to thank each member for all their hard work and sacrifice for the team’s success. Be sincere and authentic in your words and tone. Some questions to pose:
- What was our biggest success at work in 2011?
- What was our biggest challenge or disappointment in 2011?
- If you had a “do-over” for any of your work, how would you change things?
- What significant goal did we overlook or miss by a landslide?
- What achievements can we build upon for 2012?
The beauty of sharing this information in a group is that the team responses can feed off each other. The team can take responsibility for their actions and hold themselves accountable as a group for objectives that might not have been met. Also, reasons for failure or success can be openly evaluated and analyzed. Of course, leaders must be careful to facilitate and not allow this to turn into a gripe session.
- Meet one-on-one with team members: Another way to obtain good, constructive feedback from the team is to meet individually. Either have lunch or coffee with each person to discuss what transpired in 2011. Take the time to state your appreciation for all their efforts. Again, to create an honest exchange, a leader must be open and transparent in their discussions. Asking the questions in a more personal way can be helpful:
- What was your biggest success in 2011?
- What was your biggest disappointment in 2011?
- What are some new goals you would like to achieve for 2012?
- What was your biggest challenge in working with the team members?
Sometimes the information a leader receives by individually meeting with each person can be greater because not everybody is able to open up in a group setting. It can also be less threatening for some team members to share true concerns without having others respond or defend actions.
In either case, taking the time to thank your team for their contributions of the previous year goes a long way and may even encourage feedback and sharing of ideas. Feeling valued for work well done can spur a team on to achieve more in the year ahead. So use your secret weapon and create a fabulous 2012!