06 Sep 2011

Lesson 9 – Team Development Lessons Taught by My Dog

Show respect for your team in ways that they appreciate

At the end of a hard day at work, it always good to get home. Not only because I get the chance to relax, but also because Jake (our dog) has a way of making your very presence feel special. As soon as you get home, he is there waiting, wagging his tail, hoping to greet you in the most excited way possible. He has the ability to make an average day feel pretty good (even if it gets excessive at times!). Jake shows his enthusiasm in a simple yet effective way, and it demonstrates to the rest of the family that they are appreciated.

Jake’s appreciation leads me to ask: ‘How do you show your respect and appreciation for your team?’

From the many, many examples that I have seen demonstrated, the simple things are often the best. How often do you do the following:


  • Giving a pleasant, cheerful ‘good morning’ in the morning to your team mates
  • Not letting little things get you down
  • Ask about how people are doing – both at work and at home
  • Say thank you for a job well done


The last point – saying thank you – seems to be so hard for so many people! It is either not said, or said in a way that has no impact on the recipient at all. This is ‘teflon- coated’ praise – just like the cooking surface, the praise ‘washes right off’ the person you delivered it to and is forgotten quickly. If you are going to go to the effort to praise someone – you want it to stick for a little while, don’t you?


Tips for saying than you:

1.            Get past simple words such as ‘thank you’, ‘well done’, great work, ‘top job’. Small throw-away phrases result in small throw-away praise.

2.            Go beyond ‘who’ and remember ‘when’, ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘how’

  •             When did they do it?
  • What was it that was done so well?
  •             Why did you like it so much? What impact did it have on you?
  •             How will it help in the future? How is your job easier because of it?


Thank you 1:  ‘Great work Ben’ can be changed to,

Thank you 2:  ‘Ben, thanks for the report you submitted last Friday. It was very well written and saved me a heap of time – time I really needed to complete the end of year statistics. The table that you put in the report is fantastic, I am going to use that for future reports. Thanks for your help.’

Yes – it is more wordy than the first. Yes – you need to be specific and think about it for more than 5 seconds. But the effect on receiving the praise has a much greater impact. The first comment might result in a brief smile that lasts for maybe 5 minutes. The second comment will stick for much, much longer – you will appear to have taken the time and effort to really appreciate what was done. Further, Ben will go out of his way to do it again.

What are you doing to appreciate your team?

Do you praise your team enough for the job they do?

Could the praise that you provide be delivered in a more ‘sticky’ way?

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