From the American Music Association to the Golden Globes, recipients of awards stand in front of the crowd and give thanks to all who helped get them there. Some speeches are short and concise, others drag on a bit too long and the music is cued to close them out. Whether short or long, those speeches have one thing in common. Those being recognized take the time to acknowledge that they did not get to that point alone.
If any part of your workday involves collaborating with others, my advice to you is “practice your acceptance speech”.
With a large percentage of the workforce working remotely, teams are collaborating in new and creative ways. While many remote teams are participating in large virtual ideation sessions, others are conducting business in smaller, break-out sessions. It doesn’t matter how the work gets done, as long as it gets done, right? Well, not exactly. Where everyone’s efforts may once have been obvious to the larger group, these smaller sessions can lead to management guessing or assuming who created or contributed to the finished product. Unless the person submitting the work acknowledges that they did not work alone.
I see it time and again; if a project tanks, the team lead is quick to bring all parties who contributed onto the sinking ship. If a project is well received sometimes support team members are pushed aside or even forgotten. Unless there is a slide in a presentation that lists all contributors, the person on the receiving end of all that praise may simply smile and say, “thank you”. Unless they’ve worked their acceptance speech muscle and have made acknowledging others a part of their daily language.
Bringing contributor’s names up frequently during communications clears up any misconception that you are driving the bus by yourself. Referencing individuals in emails, during conference calls, and always emphasizing that the work being done is a team effort is a great place to start. When I turn in a project or report that many hands have been a part of, you can bet that I share the names of those behind the effort. This ensures that team members feel valued, and that their contributions are recognized not only by me but hopefully by upper management as well. To give the impression that you’ve done it all on your own leaves those who assisted feeling like rungs on a ladder – only useful for you to step on on your way to the top.
Try practicing your acceptance speech in your personal life as well. Let friends and family members know that you recognize that they are a large part of your day’s success. Let them hear you bragging about their accomplishments and activities. Our lives are comprised of many “teams” – personal and professional. Be inclusive, thankful, appreciative of hard work and admiring of other’s efforts.
Begin giving credit where it is due. Take note of who made the work possible and make sure to bring them into the conversation and into the forefront when receiving accolades. Practice your acceptance speech often. This exercise will help you focus outside of yourself and begin living a life of acknowledgement and gratitude. Working this muscle helps to build a collaborative team by showing others that their contributions are appreciated. Bringing others into the accolade circle also reminds us that we oftentimes cannot accomplish all that we want on our own. It grounds us to the truth that it often takes a village to succeed.
Who can you thank today?