► 9. A real leader celebrates. An impostor doesn’t see the need to celebrate.
A real leader doesn’t wait for the sale-of-a-lifetime or a miraculous business turnaround before they celebrate with their team. They know that little things count. In fact, little celebrations can make a big difference.
As psychologist Dr. Terry Paulson points out, “When people are asked to consider what works, too many look for the big things — those things that get measured and reported. But many times, it is the consistent little things leaders do that mean the most to their teams.”
And the MOST important time to celebrate might be when you LEAST feel like it. That’s what Jill Blashack Strahan had to learn as the President of Tastefully Simple. As she writes,
“We were five years old and we’d just moved into our brand-new headquarters, one mile out of town, set on twenty-two acres, next to beautiful woods and wetlands.
“Accordingly, we’d invited all thirty of our team members to a little celebration at 9:20 a.m. As a gift, I’d purchased Tastefully Simple baseball caps for everyone.
“So there we all were, the first day in our new work areas, in our brand-new building. But the mood was anything but celebratory. I mean, think about it. You’re in a new space. All your belongings have been moved over the weekend. You can’t find your stapler or your favorite pen. You don’t know how to use your new phone and your files are in a cardboard box sitting on the floor. Everyone was just a little tense.
“At nine o’clock, I thought, ‘What was I thinking? Am I out of my mind? We can’t do this celebration. It’s our first day in the new building and everyone’s stressed! Maybe we should do it tomorrow.
“After a few more rants, I remembered what Andy Longclaw says in the book ‘Gung Ho.’ Recognition must be TRUE: Timely, Responsive, Unconditional and Enthusiastic. We can’t wait. We need to have the celebration now.
“So at 9:20, I paged everyone in the building to join us outside by the warehouse loading docks. It was a beautiful June day, warm and sunny, with a perfectly clear blue sky. I gave a little speech about June being the season of graduation, and like high school graduates, this new building was indicative of moving into a new phase of our lives.
“We passed out the baseball caps, and in true graduation tradition, we all cheered and threw our hats into the air while we sprayed everyone with Silly String. Afterwards, we went into our break room and had muffins and coffee. The whole celebration took less than half an hour.
“But what do you suppose the mood was like at Tastefully Simple after we all got back to our work stations? The tension was ‘Poof, gone.
“Here’s what I learned. When we’re all stressed out, that’s when we need to take the time to celebrate what’s right with the world. When I least feel like celebrating is when I most need it.”
There’s great wisdom in what Jill has to say and what she did as a leader. Impostors would have waited for the “right moment,”, which might have never come. Or they might have dreamed up all kinds of reasons for not “wasting” any more time or money on celebrating.
You weren’t born to be a leader. But you can learn to be a leader. Or you can be an impostor by default. Today I challenge you to take the nine points I’ve outlined in these last three Tuesday Tips and become the real leader you can be..