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4 Easy Ways To Celebrate Wins At Work To Increase Morale And Retention

Written by: Elisia Keown, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Did you know that the brain naturally has a way of seeking out what's NOT going right and finding evidence to prove itself right?

By default, for survival, our brains are pre-programmed to scan for danger, to always be on "look out" mode, and be surveying the landscape for things that may try and kill us.

I know what you're thinking. Logically, there is typically nothing that dangerous in our day-to-day work lives that will harm us in such an extreme way. However, the primitive part of our brain doesn't know that, or want to believe it. The primitive brain is built for survival its main job is to keep us alive. And, that's worked for generations, so why stop now?

So how does this get in the way of celebrating wins at work and why does this matter?

Well, if our brain is pre-programmed to do the above actions, then when in default mode, it's NOT taking notice of all the wonderful accomplishments that are happening and how amazing things are going. If we live in this default mode, this is where we may get into the habit of taking things for granted or overlooking the "wins" in the day-to-day.

A perfect example of this is if you ever worked with a colleague that resigned and left the organization, and only after they depart, do you really notice how much of an impact they had on the workplace and how much value they were creating. Perhaps you wish you would've told them that more in the moment.

And maybe you're hearing this in engagement surveys, 360 feedback or exit interviews. I've coached lots of leaders that receive feedback from their teams that they are craving recognition and acknowledgement.

So how do we stop the cycle?

Make it a practice. An easy way to do this is to ask yourself, once a day, where did we win today? What went well?

At first, this may be difficult to think of anything (remember, we have that built-in negativity bias), so if this is the case for you, start small. It could be something as simple as a great comment someone said during a meeting.

Next, after you have the win in mind share it. I call this giving the Gold Star, because personally, I love getting a Gold Star for accomplishments and it's a recognizable way to call attention to what is going well.

Four easy ways to do this:

  1. Meetings ‒ recognize the team or individual wins during group or 1 on 1 meeting

  2. Recaps ‒ you can draft a recap for your team and/or boss regarding things that went well for the week

  3. Email ‒ send a quick note to recognize the win

  4. Social media ‒ post regarding the win (of course, consider if it's appropriate for mass consumption and remove any confidential information)

Now, rinse and repeat! Make it a habit, practice it daily, and reprogram your brain to look for the wins. Watch as it positively impacts your and your team's morale and engagement.

If you want more practical tips on how to lead and manage your team from an Executive Coach, connect with me. You can connect directly with me through my website and on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Elisia Keown, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Elisia has 21 years of experience and a passion for coaching leaders, which makes her uniquely qualified to be the perfect coach for you. She's managed multiple geographically dispersed retail locations and led teams of employees numbering in the hundreds. She knows the importance of delegation, clear communication, and the power of direct feedback for development. She can help you organize yourself, your time, and your team to focus on the right priorities to drive results.

She's led Talent Acquisition teams and has global recruiting experience. She learned quickly how hiring and retaining the right talent in a business truly impacts results. She can help you decipher if you have the right team in place to support you and what to do if you don't. She's supported multiple leaders of large teams (some managing up to 30,000+ employees) with all aspects of Human Resources.

She's coached leaders to manage the performance of their teams, including having the most difficult and emotional conversations. She's helped leaders navigate through internal politics and helped them learn how to have a productive working relationship with their boss.

She can support you with all of this and more.



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