I learned about leading…from the honks!

geese2At iTS Leadership, we have this wonderful ritual that kick starts our monthly team meetings; everyone nominates a “honk” to a team member(s) of their choosing, or even to themselves.  It’s a way of acknowledging all the hard work and effort over the past few weeks. This sets the scene for the start of a positive meeting and enhances the great bond we have as colleagues and friends.

We have recently been joined by a new member of the team and when we asked how they felt leaving their previous position, I was struck by the outpouring of positive messages they received by their colleagues/peers on their last day of work.  She shared how she was touched and, in some circumstances, quite surprised by the comments and level of warmth she received, and it was likened to a “living wake!”

Her experience reminded me of my last days of jobs in my past and, like her, I had experienced similar send offs and was equally surprised at how many people I had positively affected during my time within those Companies. At the time, I was grateful for their comments and very emotional; I was overwhelmed by the feeling of belonging and appreciation.

This then got me thinking about WHY I was so surprised. On occasion I had received a “thank you” and acknowledgement from my boss, if there was a particularly important project at hand, or from a colleague that I had helped and, at the time, I took pride in knowing my efforts had been noticed.  However, how many of us really feel worthy of “honks” at work, or even at home?

thank youFor some, there are positive reasons as to why they are off to pastures new; promotion, change of career direction, maternity, retirement, relocation, however, I know of many ex-colleagues that have left their jobs due to feeling that they could do better elsewhere, they hadn’t got the recognition they felt they deserved, their work wasn’t seen as valuable etc.  But on their last day, they would generally receive a card, with messages of “good luck”, “you will be missed”, “they will be lucky to have you”… and sometimes there would have been a collection and they would receive a gift of thanks, and colleagues would gather round to listen to a speech from one of the Managers on how wonderful they have been as a valued member of the team.

Whilst I feel this is a lovely gesture and I wouldn’t want anyone to leave their job without comment or acknowledgement, I feel equally saddened that, in the main, those people only truly know and understand their worth on the day they are leaving.  How many of those depart because they were unhappy in their role; would they still be in those positions if they felt they were deserving of a place in the team/Company?  Why did they not received their “honks” during their employment and were they in turn also encouraged to offer thanks to their colleagues? Probably not.

At iTS Leadership, we encourage Leaders to have a positive approach and learn to appreciate the skills and efforts of their teams, where it’s deserved.  iTS Leadership live by this message every day and, on behalf of the team, I would say we feel a closeness and unique working bond, very rarely matched by other Companies.  Those “honks” are our way of expressing how grateful we are to each other, and ourselves, to truly achieve profit and SMILES. They don’t have to be massive achievements, sometimes the smallest acts of kindness are those that are most appreciated and should be acknowledged.

To find out where our “honks” come from, have a look at the video on our home page: http://its-leadership.co.uk and learn more about our logo and the use of geese, or contact one of our team members at iTS Leadership to get your teams “honking!”

After all, iTS Leadership!

Author: Linda Jamieson

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