Small Gestures Really Make a Huge Difference
A recent article by Forbes illustrates the need for us all to be recognised and recognise others by acknowledgements in small gestures of appreciation and thanks – even a cup of coffee.
No matter where we are in the hierarchy of our jobs, we all need to feel appreciated. Giving or receiving appreciative gestures is a way of empowering ourselves that costs nothing. Plenty of people in the workplace – irrespective of their seniority or the opposite – don’t feel like they belong. Take employees. No matter how welcoming and new employee-friendly the company, recently hired employees may feel they’re constantly being judged and found wanting. Until they have had a chance to settle in, they can feel highly insecure. On the flip side, over half of CEOs report feeling lonely in their roles.
This is not good. It’s not good for the individuals involved, and it’s not good for productivity. Call it “adding value”, giving small compliments unbidden, even just adding a friendly PS to emails, but you’ll find that these small gestures will have a domino effect on your workplace and rebound positively back on you.
“How Can I Help?”
These are possibly the most welcome four words many people could hear at work; “How can I help?”. Such a simple sentence but one that could have a profound impact on the recipient and one whose ripple effects could have such lasting consequences.
And it’s true today more than ever. Many of us ride to work immersed in our phones and then spend the day in front of a screen – literally a barrier to human contact. We’ve become so out of practice with human interaction that when it comes, our gut reaction is to see it as an interruption. People are swamped with work and emails. And just when they settle down to get something done, a colleague knocks on the door. Or the phone rings. People tend to push these interruptions away in order to focus on the ‘real work.’ But these brief interactions and small gestures are the real work today, and they will be increasingly so the more isolated we become. We need to be present for these moments in a powerful way and be as helpful as we can be.
Small Gestures Don’t Need to be Verbal
Whether you are speaking or listening, looking into the eyes of the person with whom you are conversing can make the interaction more successful. Eye contact conveys interest and encourages your partner to be interested in you in return. It’s something else we’ve lost the art of in this technological age. Be in the moment.
Also, body language can say so much more than a mouthful of words. An open stance with arms relaxed at your sides tells anyone around you that you are approachable and open to hearing what they have to say.
Use gestures. These include gestures with your hands and face. Make your whole body talk. Use smaller gestures for individuals and small groups. The gestures should get larger as the group that one is addressing increases in size.
It May Be a Cliché, But Be the Change
Manifest constructive attitudes and beliefs in the workplace. The attitudes you bring to communication will have a huge impact on the way you compose yourself and interact with others. Choose to be honest, patient, optimistic, sincere, respectful, and accepting of others. Be the trendsetter of small gestures and make your workplace what you want it to be.