For any business leader, interaction with employees or coworkers typically takes place at the workplace, on the job. Occasionally, there may be a work party or something similar, but mostly we see each other only in a single context. Outside of that context, we hardly know each other at all.
If you’re in a leadership position and want to break out of your work-bubble, I have a great idea for you.
About five years ago, I had an idea come to mind for the Christmas holiday. I had just started as the President of my firm and wanted to begin a holiday tradition. Andrea and I felt it would be nice if each year we gave all of our staff and financial planners a Christmas book that they could enjoy with their families.
As we selected the book and prepared to get busy buying and wrapping, I had another idea—wouldn’t it be special to deliver these books personally to my employees’ homes? Now, I have 100 people working for me, and there was no way I’d have time to make 100 deliveries, but I could manage 15 to 20. We chose those recipients, then, over the next few weeks, Andrea and I would load up the kids and drive to the homes, delivering books.
Each time we rang a door bell or knocked on a door, we were greeted by a surprised look followed by a warm smile. Oftentimes, there were young children excitedly peaking around their parents, trying to catch a glimpse of what we had brought. Every time there was gratitude expressed and holiday greetings shared.
After visiting a few houses, I noticed a Christmas surprise of my own; going to the homes of those who I have professional stewardship over allowed me to see them in a new way. Meeting these wonderful families showed me why my employees give so much of themselves Monday through Friday. My gratitude for their daily efforts deepened. My resolve to continue to work on their behalf grew even stronger. These great people got a book, but I got a new perspective on my career.
Each year since 2013, Andrea and I have continued our holiday tradition of giving out books—and giving as many as we can in person, at the recipients’ homes. I look forward to the delivery days, regardless of cold weather or snowy conditions, and I always come away with a warm feeling and a sense of gratitude for my fellow coworkers.
What holiday tradition can you start, to connect with people in ways you normally can’t?
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