Our “praise” file recently celebrated its first anniversary.
Started rather informally in January 2015, it’s a Word doc in a shared folder where we capture the kind words from clients (and the occasional reporter) for going above and beyond. It’s now five pages – and growing – with highlights about our team’s responsiveness, creativity, attention to detail, turnaround time, pricing, writing skills and attitudes.
It’s also baked into our culture. There’s seldom a week that goes by where someone doesn’t send an email noting “Another one for the praise file.” Agendas for our team meetings start with a recap of recent praise. Our team is gracious in sharing compliments with one another, both in person and in writing.
I think it makes for a kinder workplace, particularly when things are stressful. The past two weeks have been more crisis-filled than usual. Our team has gone from issue to issue to issue without a break, putting out one fire just to have two more pop up in its place.
But no complaints. That’s our job. It’s both honor and privilege to walk alongside our clients at some of their darkest times. The bonds forged in these moments are among the strongest that we make professionally.
That’s why it’s really important to take a few minutes to say “Thanks, job well done” whenever I can. Like our clients, I always appreciate when our team does that bit extra that makes everyone sit back and say, “Wow.”
Perhaps that’s because I have worked in environments – quite a few of them, actually – where no one every bothered to give a compliment. One of my former bosses once said, “We pay you – what more do you want?”
A sense of belonging, perhaps. Recognition that I could be spending my time in lots of different ways, but I choose to spend it here. Acknowledgement that my contributions matter. A little nod to the fact that sometimes the job really tough.
I know I make mistakes in my role leading Sabo PR. I try not to make the same mistake twice – and I try to avoid the mistakes that used to grind on me when I was on the receiving end.
One mistake I plan never to make is to let my team feel underappreciated.
In scrolling back through our praise file this morning, I smiled again and again at some of the comments from our clients. If I had to choose my favorite, it would be one of the simplest: Thank you for caring.
Thank you for caring, Erin, Kristin, Brian, T.J., Tom, Peg and Katie, each and every day.