Small Gestures that Great Leaders Remember to Make

The best bosses understand that big responsibilities are never an excuse for forgoing small courtesies.  Nearly 7 in 10 employees claimed they’d work harder if they felt more appreciated at work. The tiniest gestures can go a long way in ensuring that your staff feels engaged and appreciated, and these individual positive experiences are the foundation of a great company culture.

Here are some little things that will make a big impact on your staff:

1. Greet Individuals by Name

As Dale Carnegie once said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”  When you remember an employee’s name, it conveys respect and suggests that your experiences with them have been significant.  If you can, try to learn the names of everyone in your office.  If an employee has worked with you for months and you still aren’t referring to them by name, this sends a message that they aren’t an important part of your team.

But maybe you simply aren’t good with names, and you do feel that your coworkers are important, regardless of whether you know what to call them.  Forbes claims it doesn’t matter.  If you forget their name, then “their name is seemingly insignificant and irrelevant to you. Of course, you may not consciously feel this way, but the person’s perception of you is their reality.”

2. Ask Specific Questions

While asking somebody about their day is always a kind gesture, take it a step further to breed loyalty in your employees.  Make notes of important details about your team’s lives.  Wishing someone happy birthday, congratulating somebody on their work anniversary, or asking about a child’s sports game all show that you care about their lives and builds a genuine relationship with that individual.  In addition to personal questions, ask how their work is going and how you can provide support.  This prompting is important, as employees can sometimes be hesitant to ask for more help or resources even when they need them.

3. Personalize Thank-Yous

Next time you’re about to hit “send” on that brief thank-you email, consider going to talk to that employee instead.  Oftentimes, it’s hard to convey emotion through an email, so speaking to a coworker is a great way to make sure your appreciative tone comes across.  Hand-written thank-you cards are also a great way to convey sincerity.  And unlike thank-you emails, they aren’t at risk of getting lost in an employee’s flooded inbox.

4. Be Available to Chat

The Honest Company CEO Jessica Alba will attest to the importance of giving “everyone, no matter their title, space to feel heard.”  Being available to talk is crucial to building great relationships with your staff.  Encourage your team to ask questions, try to keep your office door open whenever possible, and periodically walk around the office to check-in with people.  Setting aside time in your schedule to do this is a must.  If you’re multitasking, continuously looking at your watch, or otherwise acting impatient, this is debatably worse than keeping your office door closed.  It conveys the message that the employee is not worth your time. If you find yourself tempted to check your phone or email during a chat, consider turning these devices off or on airplane mode.

5. Offer Surprise Perks

Small decencies like letting your employees off early for a holiday, bringing snacks to a meeting, or letting someone work a day from home go a long way towards building a strong relationship with your employees.  As Workforce.com points out, “We’re not all Googles.  We don’t have to be Google.”  The perks don’t have to be over-the-top to satisfy your team.  Small efforts still show that you’re committed to making your employees’ experience working at your company a positive one and that you’re thinking about their wellbeing.

 

In the big picture, overlooking small courtesies can be detrimental to your company culture.  Be vigilant about your small acts of kindness and watch as these actions have a big impact on your staff.