With Giving Tuesday and the holidays just around the corner, we – as well as many of the clients we work with – have generosity at the top of our mind. And while generosity to others during this time of year is certainly important, it’s also important to remember to be generous within our workplaces as well. A workplace where staff and team members are listened to, appreciated, supported and praised is a workplace where people want to give their best, where people’s ideas and creativity can unfold. Generosity helps to foster this creativity and helps to boost morale and performance as well as mental and emotional wellbeing among employees.
Bringing out the best in your team members
Poor relationships between team members and their team leader and/or manager are often cited as one of the main reasons for job dissatisfaction and for leaving the job. When team leaders show generosity to team members by making time to listen, to appreciate, and to offer development opportunities, they unlock the key to a successful, well-functioning and happy team.
However, the day-to-day work pressures facing team leaders can leave them focused solely on getting the job done with little focus on how people perform in order to achieve the end result. We often think to perform well we need to do more, when quite the opposite is true. It is far more important for team leaders to stop and listen, to let go of their own agenda, and to give time to each person on the team in order to bring out the best of everyone.
To be generous to others, one needs to be generous to oneself
To give to others we need to have a healthy sense of self-worth and of self-appreciation. This can happen when we are able to acknowledge what we appreciate about ourselves as well as our limitations, i.e. what we are not capable of or what we want to develop and change in ourselves.
When we value ourselves we feel confident. We are able to accept ourselves as we are, to have a sense of self-worth and to feel safe. And when we feel confident in ourselves, we have a more open heart and mind and develop a capacity to give to others. We do not feel threatened when a team member or colleague has a different view or opinion. We are open to new ideas and innovations and can be generous with supporting others’ suggestions.
Tips for role modelling and bringing generosity into a team:
- Start with yourself and strengthen your sense of self-worth and confidence by journaling for 10 minutes every day. Review the last 24 hours, write down what you have appreciated about yourself in your day, what you have done well, what hasn’t worked so well, and what you could and will do differently next time. This strengthens a learning or growth mindset.
- Give listening time to your team members in 1:1s. Make it a point to listen rather than talk.
- Give listening time in team meetings and encourage team members to listen attentively to each other. Establish the principle of listening to each as a way of working and being within the team.
“The quality of your attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking.” Nancy Kline, author, founder and president of Time to Think.
- Practice inquiry to help your team members explore their own experience of how they are doing in their job. This will help you to bring out the best of them. Some helpful inquiry questions are:
- What’s been happening for you this week?
- What have you noticed?
- How do you feel about that?
- What more do you want to say?
- How will you work with that?
- What are you proud of this week?
- What do you appreciate about yourself?
- What do you want to do differently?
- Introduce a round of appreciation at the end of a team meeting or team away day. Invite team members to go round and each say one thing they appreciate about the person sitting next to them. A five to one ratio of
How will you show generosity in the workplace this week? Generosity has many guises.
Generosity was originally associated with noble birth. Today it’s more associated with a noble character. Indeed, giving with open-handedness is very noble as when we are truly generous we give without wanting anything back in return – but that’s easier said than done! Our hard wired survival instinct, looking after number one can present a real barrier to going beyond our own needs and desires for the benefit of others.
Being generous can be expressed in many ways – it is not solely related to giving money, as we are prone to think. Giving time to support others, giving time to listen to someone, giving knowledge, giving respect and regard, giving praise, giving care and love. How will you show generosity in your workplace this week?
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