Spread the Joy of Positive Feedback

Whether you’re a bah-humbugging Scrooge or a glitter-spreading Elf, Christmas is definitely here.

As a finance leader, you need to think about what that means for your team. A natural ‘end’ point to the year, Christmas is a break for most people that usually comes after an exceptionally busy run-up. What is key is not losing your leadership focus amongst this craziness. The most important thing to consider right now, is how share some positive feedback, in order to set the tone for 2018.

And I don’t mean one of those conversations that happens at the Christmas party after a few too many beverages. I mean a considered ‘thank you’ and appraisal of all the good bits of 2017.

Positive feedback is an underrated motivation tool

We all love a bit of good feedback. But when people are stretched, things go wrong or the pressure is on, especially in the run up to year end, any sort of positivity can go out of the window. By simply reaching out to a colleague or report to thank them for a specific item or input they’ve contributed recently, not only will it boost morale now, but it may lead to further positive contributions. It’s always easier to criticise than praise, so make sure you pick up on any key successes or initiatives that have made a real difference to your role.

Christmas and New Year is a time of reflection

Last thing you want to be doing as a finance leader is sending your team, or any individual in your team, off for their break under a cloud of questions that ultimately make them consider their career options. Even if unintentionally, this can be the effect of not having enough time at year end to thank your people individually, so don’t let this slide. Even a simple sit down for 10 mins could make the world of difference between someone sitting on their couch on the 1st of Jan and starting to scroll through the job adverts and someone furiously scribbling a to-do-list of great ideas for their return to work.

Play to people’s strengths

We’re all too fond of focusing development appraisals on things that could be improved. Think of giving praise as an act of directing someone down a path of even greater contribution. If you appreciated the work your assistant accountant did on automating spreadsheets this year, give public praise to it.  Not only will it spur your accountant on to look for further opportunities for improvement, it will give the direction to others that this is how they might get ahead. Reinforcing positive actions will only breed repetition – and if you’re lucky, a bit of healthy competition.

So, if you only do one thing before you go on Christmas break, make that one thing to spread some joy!

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