4 Small things that make a big difference

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There seems to be an understanding that leaders need to constantly deliver moments of brilliance that inspire, move and motivate their teams. The truth is, this isn’t possible. However, there are things that leaders can do every day that make a huge difference, and actually most of them are really small actions that take only a few seconds to do.

Here are 4 things that we can all do daily that have a big impact.

#1 – Say a genuine and happy hello each morning

The way you start the day sets the tone for the rest of that day. When you come into work, ignore everyone, go into your office and close the door, everyone is going to be treading on egg-shells all day. That start to the day says, “don’t talk to me unless it’s seriously important”. Alternatively, if you walk in, say hello to everyone individually and ask them about their weekend or their evening, the day is off to a good start.

Of course, you may not be feeling in the best mood, and in that case, don’t force the happiness. However, it’s still important to take the time to say hello and make sure everyone is doing OK before the day starts.

#2 – Remember what's happening in people's lives

I’m going to let you into a little secret… It’s OK to talk about people’s personal lives. Some leaders I’ve met are determined to keep their relationships with their teams purely professional. This is absolutely fine, but it’s also OK to talk about what is happening outside of work. These days everyone is always connected and taking their work home with them anyway – so it’s only natural their going to bring their personal life into work too.

So when you find out about what’s happening in your team’s lives, remember it! If you know Tom’s teenage son is expecting his exam results, then wish him good luck. If you know that Susan’s husband has an operation, then check in and ask her how it went. If you know Charlie is running the marathon that weekend, send him a text telling them how great you think they are for doing that. These small actions take seconds, but the impact lasts for years.

#3 – Say 'Well Done' and 'Thank You'

Recognition for good performance is the driving force behind long term happiness and engagement. Regularly taking the time to personally thank people for their efforts, and congratulating people for doing a great job is absolutely essential. The moral here is to never take anyone’s hard work for granted. When this starts to happen, you will lose morale, and often your best people will just up and leave.

#4 - Openly admit when you're wrong

We all make mistakes. I have certainly lost count of the amount of really stupid mistakes I’ve made. It’s absolutely OK for you to make a mistake too, even if you’re in a very important leadership position. However, the crucial point is here is how you react to your mistake. If you try to blame others, or simply brush it under the carpet then you will lose a lot of respect. However, if you own up and admit the error is yours, then you will actually gain the respect of others. Moreover, making a mistake and owning up makes you more relatable as a leader and can help to build trust with your team too.

The important thing to remember from these 4 things is that leaders can have a positive impact every single day just by doing a few small things. Doing these things consistently, over a long period of time will help your team to see you as someone that is human and someone that really cares – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.