December is a season of giving and the holidays bring out our generosity in many ways. Giving to those less fortunate. Supporting a family that fell on hard times so they can enjoy the holidays. Donating to food pantries. Serving a meal at soup kitchens. Sharing anonymous gifts with Secret Santas. Sending year-end bonuses or gift cards. And so much more.
“The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than in things.”
Generosity is one of the most important leadership attributes, and for more than the warm fuzzies it generates. Generosity is a powerful leadership quality because it contributes to the personal and professional growth of individuals within our teams and within our client community. It's a leadership attribute that goes beyond tasks and goals, focusing on the well-being and success of the people we’re leading and serving. Generosity as a leadership attribute is like a secret sauce that adds a special flavor to a leader's effectiveness, because it:
- Builds Trust and Loyalty: Generosity creates a sense of trust and loyalty among team members.
- Strengthens Team Morale: A generous leader uplifts the spirits of the team and serves as a motivation booster.
- Encourages Collaboration: Generosity promotes a collaborative culture.
- Fosters Innovation: A generous leader encourages creativity and innovation and makes it safe to express and try ideas, knowing they will not all work out.
- Creates a Positive Work Environment: Generosity contributes to a positive and inclusive work culture. It sets the tone for a workplace where individuals feel appreciated, respected, and included.
- Strengthens Relationships: Generosity extends beyond the professional realm. Leaders who show genuine care for the well-being of their team members build strong, lasting relationships that go beyond the workplace.
- Cultivates a Culture of Giving: By modeling generosity, leaders inspire a culture of giving within the organization. This can extend to how team members treat each other and how the organization interacts with the community.
So, my question is how can we be generous throughout the year, not just between Thanksgiving and the New Year? Generosity goes beyond material things. It includes being generous with our time, connections, ideas, patience, and applause. Here are some ideas for being a more generous leader beyond our holiday traditions and celebrations and as practical things we can do throughout the year:
- Knowledge Sharing: Share your expertise and knowledge freely. Whether it's through workshops, webinars, or even blog posts, being generous with your insights can benefit others in your profession.
- Mentorship: Take the time to mentor someone. Providing guidance and support to a colleague or newcomer to the profession can have a lasting impact on their career.
- Make Connections: Connect people within your professional network, one of the best assets you have to share. Actively facilitate introductions that can help others in their career and personal lives, too.
- Flexibility: Be generous with flexibility in the workplace. Understand and accommodate the personal needs and situations of your team members. Focus on the results they produce and not when and where they get the work done.
- Recognition and Acknowledgment: Acknowledge and appreciate the efforts and achievements of your team privately and publicly. Expressing gratitude and recognizing hard work can boost morale and motivation. Be generous with your praise!
- Learning Opportunities: Invest in the development of your team members. This could involve formal training programs, workshops, or conferences to help them grow in their roles. It also includes delegating new kinds of work, providing experiential learning opportunities, and delivering timely coaching and feedback.
- Foster Well-being: Create a positive and supportive work environment. This includes promoting work-life balance, offering wellness programs, including mental health, and ensuring the well-being of your team.
- Community Involvement: Extend your generosity to the broader community. Engage in local projects or charitable activities that align with your values and contribute positively to the community. Encourage and support others in doing the same. Food shelves and community kitchens need help in other months of the year, too.
- Open Communication: Foster an environment of open communication. Encourage your team to share their ideas, concerns, and feedback, creating a culture of transparency and trust.
- Profits and Pay: Pay at, or better yet, above market. Create a generous bonus plan based on personal and company results. Invest in infrastructure through technology innovations and automation, learning and development programs, and operational roles and initiatives.
In this season of giving, let’s be generous with all that we have been given. How can you practice generosity during the holidays and all year long?
Have a blessed holiday season!