I hear a lot of leaders declare to their teams: “We need to celebrate more!” But then they don’t.

Their intentions are good, of course: Employees everywhere are emotionally spent. The fumes of energy with which to run on are seemingly evaporating. It’s common-sense 101: Celebrating can be energizing and builds confidence.

As we support teams in their development, however, I see well-intentioned leaders make a fundamental mistake: They celebrate achievements of individuals or teams independent of what the team needs to accomplish moving forward.

For example, let’s say a project team achieves an important milestone. Teammates applaud, words of congratulations are exchanged, and hand-clap emoji’s pop up on the screen. But if you look closely, a lot of people are multi-tasking and waiting for the meeting to “begin, so we can get to work.”

The reason there’s little power in these celebrations is because it’s usefulness has not been fully tapped. To celebrate productively (and engage everyone in the process) means applying an achievement to what must now be accomplished moving forward.

Here are 3 examples of what celebrating productively looks like:

  • “What did we do well in achieving our project milestone that we must now apply to hit our next target?”
  • “I’d like to acknowledge [insert teammate’s name]. Because she spoke up, it enabled us to break a barrier we’ve long faced. As we look at the barriers in front of us, what additional truths do we need to share?”
  • “What strengths does this team possess that we’re going to need to succeed moving forward?”

Celebrating for the sake of celebration is fun. Celebrating productively is energizing – and good for the business.

How will you celebrate productively in your next meeting?

Activate Your Greatness.

Activate Your Greatness.

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