Don’t you just love Autumn? The glorious leaves are at a peak, and we eagerly anticipate precious time with loved ones while enjoying “family favorite” Thanksgiving traditions.
Another eagerly anticipated aspect of Fall is Rivalry Weekend. During this special time, college football teams across the nation participate in the once a year opportunity to face their fiercest rivals.
As a child my family loved to watch our beloved Ole Miss Rebels take on the archrival Bulldogs from Mississippi State. For both teams, this was the one game of the year that really mattered. My parents taught me early on how to cheer “Hotty Toddy!” with great enthusiasm.
When I moved to Ohio, I learned to shout “O-H-I-O!” and to understand that the game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines would be the hottest rivalry game of the year.
Having been a college athlete, I have always been mesmerized by the impact of enthusiastic cheers. The accolades from raving fans can be the lifeblood of any team.
I invite you to take a moment and imagine that it’s Rivalry Weekend. Your favorite college football team is undefeated, is ranked in the AP Poll Top Ten, and is clearly expected to win. It’s a beautiful Autumn day, and the stadium is overflowing with fans. The coin is tossed, and your team receives the opening kickoff. Your receiving player runs the ball all the way down the field for a touchdown and …. NO ONE CHEERS.
In the next series, your team intercepts the ball and runs it back to score again and … NO ONE CHEERS.
The same outcomes are repeated time and time again until the game is over and… NO ONE CHEERS… not even the coach.
Because your team was supposed to win. Winning was an expected goal, and for that reason alone, affirmation was not necessary.
Now how ridiculous is that!!!?!!
Yet, this same pattern sadly takes place every day in Corporate America when leaders fail to praise their teams for a job well done. These leaders believe that because the team was expected to achieve stated goals, accolades were simply not necessary.
Leaders who fail to praise their team members for great performances are robbing their teams of the opportunity to build upon positive momentum. They run the risk of having disengaged employees who ultimately feel unappreciated for the contributions they made to organizational success.
A study by the John Templeton Foundation found that 60% of employees say they either “never” receive gratitude at work, or if they do, it occurs perhaps once a year. This is grossly inadequate for the modern workforce!
Millennials are projected to comprise 50% of the employee base by 2020, and evidence indicates they require “in the moment” affirmation for a job well done as opposed to hearing compliments only during performance conversations. Plus, Gallup has reported that “employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.”
Are you taking for granted the efforts required for your team to achieve its goals? Or, are you being purposeful in systematically and sincerely expressing appreciation to your team members for achieving their goals?
Perhaps it is not a coincidence that Rivalry Weekend and Thanksgiving occur during the same week. In this special season when gratitude should be front and center, I hope you will seize the moment to remember that sincere expressions of appreciation are not only needed within our homes and on the football field, they are needed now more than ever before within the workplace.
I hope that starting today, you will become a Gracious Leader who is grateful for the great performances brought forth by your team!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving! And good luck to your favorite team during Rivalry Weekend!