LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE
Have you ever received the VIP treatment? The kind of treatment that is likely undeserved, makes you look around and wonder about your fortune, and, well, feel quite extraordinary? Recently, I attended an outdoor concert surrounded by glorious gardens. I was met at the entry gate, called by name out of a long line, and greeted with a hug from a sweet friend. “C’mon, you’re with me,” she said. Plump raindrops began to spot the walkway as she escorted me under a large white tent where luscious food and drinks were served only to the VIPs of the evening.
In the workplace, we’ve known leaders who enjoy being treated like very important people, movie stars, or accomplished athletes. (Cue eye roll.) These leaders instinctively know that a smorgasbord of salty snacks isn’t enough, and they may never know, what (in addition to the 52-ounce barrel of pretzels in the break room) makes people feel special. Oh no! Are we talking about feelings? Yes, people on our teams want to feel extraordinarily promoted, treasured, and protected– as if they were, in fact, very important.
Here are a few ways to make people feel extraordinary:
- Passionately Promote: I’m not referring to job titles and organization charts (though that might be part of the solution), I’m referring to sponsoring and endorsing those who are not known or valued, like assigning a special project or announcing a recent success. People want to feel empowered and supported, especially by those they perceive as VIPs.
- Truly Treasure: It is hard to treasure or genuinely appreciate someone if we associate a team member as part of a group; only the individual can be truly known and understood. Spend time exploring and discovering how people are unique, then honor differences, respect unusual skills, and reward unexpected contributions.
- Fiercely Protect: According to MindTools, standing up for people in the workplace “builds long-term loyalty, trust, credibility, commitment, and morale in your team, and it gives your people a confidence boost.” Leaders have power and an obligation to guard against thoughtlessness, mistreatment, and unethical behavior.
Remember my concert experience? I was pulled out of line, greeted warmly, and ushered out of the rain! I was promoted, treasured, and protected by a VIP who made me feel like a VIP. Think back to a time when someone said to you, “C’mon, you’re with me.” How did that make you feel? In what situation could you say this to individuals on your team? This kind of treatment requires intention, consistency– and maybe some feelings on your part, too!
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.