Celebrating success. It's good for you AND your team

Celebrating success. It’s good for you AND your team

by | Jul 26, 2018 | Purpose and Direction

According to our research, more than 50% of leaders don’t regularly reflect on what’s going well for them at work. That’s an awful lot of people not taking the time to stop and ‘smell the roses.’

I wonder what it’s like working for one of these leaders? Given the choice, would you prefer to work for a leader who reflects on the positives or one who doesn’t?

That’s our focus this week – what’s good about noticing and celebrating success at work, for leaders and their teams…


What’s the deal with reflecting and celebrating the positives?

When you’re always looking ahead to where you want to go – or what you still have to achieve, how much better things need to be and the challenges that lie ahead – it’s easy to forget about everything you’ve already accomplished.

This can lead to feeling discouraged. Because you can only see the long path you still have to travel, you remain focused only on how much more there is yet to do. (I know this feeling! ☺️).

To realise your value (and the value of your efforts), you need to take time to celebrate and acknowledge your personal successes. It’s important to look back periodically and see how far you’ve come – in fact, it’s a vital part of self-acceptance, feeling good about yourself, and being self-confident rather than self-doubting.


A special note for high achievers…

You don’t have to choose between self-acceptance and self-improvement. They can comfortably co-exist without any inner conflict!

Be positive and confident about what you’ve already achieved. Recognise your personal victories and triumphs while still looking to improve, grow and develop. When you acknowledge your success, you’re inspired to continue working toward your goals.

There’s a Buddhist expression that sums this up:

“You are perfect the way you are, and yet there is room for improvement.”

So, don’t wait until you’ve achieved your final goals to celebrate your success. Acknowledge how far you’ve come and be inspired!

Celebrate now!


Why acknowledging success reinforces success

  • It increases your motivation – When you acknowledge your success, you become inspired to continue working toward your goals.
  • It boosts your confidence – If you can achieve this one thing, perhaps you can achieve something greater.
  • It helps you overcome setbacks – Focusing on your successes keeps you on track and decreases the chances you’ll be discouraged by setbacks. It can bring in extra ‘resources’ (strength, sense of worth, confidence) to help restore and replenish you through the tough times.
  • You’ll decrease negative states and create buffers against stress – Remembering your success combats your natural human tendency towards negative bias.
  • It puts a smile on your face and improves your baseline mood – Embrace the positive spiral effect. You naturally feel good about yourself when you celebrate your achievements and, when you smile more, you stay positive, which in turn gives you more motivation, confidence and resilience.


Tips for celebrating success for leaders

Now imagine if you could achieve each of the above outcomes in your team… yes, by noticing and celebrating their successes, you can achieve all these benefits!

Here are some practical suggestions that might help build this habit:

  • When your team produces project plans, KPIs, set goals, and to-do lists, etc., make sure you go back and cross these items off. We often don’t realise how much we’ve accomplished until we can visually see all the progress we’ve made. Encourage your team to review all such documents over the past 6 months, and let it sink in just how far you’ve all come.
  • Ask everyone to make a list of all the big challenges you’ve delivered on recently, individually and as a team. Share these collectively.
  • Focus on the good. Ask your team to think over the past two weeks. Encourage everyone to look for positive facts. Write them down. Let them become positive experiences for the whole team.
  • If a team member has achieved something important in his/her role, celebrating can be as easy as treating them to lunch and chatting about their success in detail. Follow up with a public acknowledgement to the rest of the team.
  • Celebrate the small successes and don’t feel it all has to be perfect to be worth noticing – find opportunities to recognise effort and minor achievements as well as the big wins.

Feeling their work is being acknowledged and appreciated is an important determinant of your team’s wellbeing and, in turn, their performance. As their leader, you hold the key to their future success.

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