Courtesy of the Harvard Business Review

To Boost Morale, Lead with Gratitude

When people are stressed out, they’re more likely to treat those around them poorly. But research shows that creating a culture of gratitude on your team can not only lift people up and boost morale, it may also prevent workplace mistreatment. So be a role model. For example, take time to give each employee a sincere and personalized thank you for their effort this year. Or create time and space (physical or virtual) for gratitude. Some employees may feel uncomfortable expressing appreciation verbally, so you might start an appreciation wall or a dedicated Slack channel for employees to recognize each other. Alternatively, you could begin meetings with gratitude “check-ins,” during which team members can express one thing that they’re thankful for. Or consider creating opportunities where customers, clients, patients, or other beneficiaries can explain how they’re positively impacted by the work of your employees. There’s no better time to introduce these practices than the holiday season, as we’re all reflecting on what’s been a trying year. So go ahead and start now.
This tip is adapted from “Building a Better Workplace Starts with Saying ‘Thanks,’,” by Lauren R. Locklear et al.


How Inclusive Leaders Talk

Did you pledge to become a more inclusive leader or manager this year? If so, don’t only focus on your company’s policies and procedures — your communication style is just as important. Researchers have identified three key ways inclusive leaders talk. First, they use audience-centered language. So take the time to understand the needs of the people you’re speaking to and personalize your language. Use second-person pronouns (i.e. “you”) to take the focus off yourself and bring the audience into your message. Next, demonstrate subject-matter expertise. Cite relevant research, but also be sure to use language that signals your open-mindedness and receptiveness to other points of view. And don’t just explain the “what” — give context and relevance that helps your audience understand the “why” behind your message. Finally, be authentic. Don’t put on a show: Speaking naturally conveys that you truly believe in what you’re saying. And above all, your words must match your intentions and actions. All of these behaviors will help you earn your audience’s trust and convey that you really care that they feel included. 
This tip is adapted from “What Inclusive Leaders Sound Like,” by Noah Zandan and Lisa Shalett

Support Your Team Through the Weirdness of This Moment

Our personal and professional lives have collided during the Covid-19 pandemic, and nearly everyone is going through some sort of life disruption right now. It’s a new territory for many managers, who are trying to help team members navigate these transitions in a way that doesn’t upend their work lives. What role should you play at this time when employees may need you more than ever? First, provide a calm, empathetic perspective. Simply tell your people, “You will get through this,” and remind them that big life changes always have a beginning, middle, and end. You might even encourage them to identify a ritual to mark the moment and signal that they’re ready for what comes next. This might include taking a vacation, doing a digital detox, or embarking on a special creative project unrelated to work. Finally, encourage — but don’t pressure — team members to open up about their challenges. When people share difficult experiences, their blood pressure, heart rate, and other physiological functions rise in the short term, but then fall to below where they were before — and remain there for weeks. Solidarity and openness can be cathartic, so encourage this kind of closeness on your team.
This tip is adapted from “Managing Someone Whose Life Has Been Upended,” by Bruce Feiler

To Win Someone Over, Mirror Their Language

What does it take to make a convincing argument? New research points to an idea called “linguistic mirroring” — a fancy way of saying speak in the same manner as your counterpart. When you mirror the other person’s preferred communication style, they’re likely to find you more persuasive. So whether you’re prepping to pitch a big client or present to an executive, find out how the person who’s going to be sitting across the table likes to communicate. Then craft your language accordingly. For example, if your client favors linear, logical reasoning, you’re most likely to persuade them with arguments that rely heavily on facts. To influence an executive who tends to rely on a narrative, informal style, you might kick off your presentation with a story. This tip applies to spontaneous conversations, too; rather than butting heads with your friend, spouse, or colleague the next time you find yourself in a minor disagreement, try actively listening to how they’re making their case. Then, follow their lead. Of course, you want to do this in a way that’s authentic. Present an honest picture to your audience; don’t ever use your influence to manipulate them into making a poor decision.
This tip is adapted from “Want to Win Someone Over? Talk Like They Do.,”by Maxim Sytch and Yong H. Kim
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