Why leaders should celebrate success

Andy kelly sundial consulting
Andy Kelly

It’s rather trendy to discuss why leaders should celebrate success. Not the 1980’s wine swigging way, but one based on science, on health and happiness. There is a new understanding that positive feedback can motive great behaviours. How and why this can have a significant impact on your teams success, read on!

If you need a push out of your leadership comfort zone, you may find this post interesting to read also: Important Skills For Leaving Your Leadership Comfort Zone. (Opens into a new tab, for your convenience).

Why leaders should celebrate success – script

It is important to understand why you should recognize and celebrate success at work.

I don’t mean going to the pub or holding a big party (although these things are nice too).

Firstly, What are the things we should celebrate? It’s :

  • seeing people do something special
  • appreciating those who are embracing change and doing something they’ve never done before
  • or simply the person who keeps showing up early
  • people who go above & beyond
  • the person who is often helping others
  • people who put the company or team before their own agenda

When I say ‘celebrating success’ I mean – telling them!!

Some people don’t celebrate success as they feel it will cause those individuals to slack after they have been told.

This is actually not the case and in my experience it’s completely the opposite. People need their success celebrated as it helps them feel driven, relevant and more motivated. They need it at a human level.

Many of us don’t just come to work for the money, but also to add value, make a difference, it makes us feel safer, more relevant and more motivated.

So, when someone see’s you and appreciates your work it creates oxytocin. The stuff produced when you hug someone or stroke your pet dog. It feels good! So, naturally you want it again so you go and do the same behaviour.

The other reason someone might not give that positive reenforcing behaviour, or celebrate that success is because they fear it will come across as fake or inauthentic. Simply. therefore, BE authentic and also very specific about the things you have noticed that person do. It needs to be timely and clear. This enables the receiver to really take it on board.

It’s part of the job as a leader. I have learnt from the Vice Chairman of NetApp, and he does this every day, sometimes up to 10 people a day, he phones them out of the blue and tells them they’ve gone good. They feel amazing and tell all those around them.

I was working in Sweden with a bunch of Sales Engineer Managers and one of them had taken one of these calls TEN YEARS AGO. The call was missed by the SE manager and it went to voicemail. Even now, when he is having a bad day he still listens to the recording in his phone. It still makes him feel good, and he’s still motivated by it.

So as you are going about your daily work and find people doing well – TELL THEM.

Good luck and I would love to hear your views on this subject by commenting below!


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