One of the things I notice and appreciate most in an employee is consideration and a strong sense of ownership. It can be truly day-making when I see one of my employees stay late to help when their colleagues are buried in work, or when I’m sitting in on a call to find that the participants have clearly prepared and put in a significant effort.
Having worked in the service industry my entire career, I’m highly aware of how important being considerate is, both personally and professionally. The little things make all the difference in the world. Regardless of industry, we should all operate with a service mentality, which means that we should always strive to do right by the people around us. That goes for colleagues, clients, friends, family and anyone else in our world.
Here are a few specific examples of moments where that little bit of extra consideration and effort really goes a long way. As the CEO of a marketing and PR agency, and someone who’s always thinking about how to help my employees grow and work their way up to the next level, this is especially meaningful and MUCH appreciated.
1. Writing thank-you notes
Is writing thank you notes a lost art? I really hope not!
The executive managing editor at Business Insider recently wrote, “If a candidate you interview doesn’t send you a thank-you note, you probably shouldn’t hire them.” I agree wholeheartedly and was shocked at the backlash the post generated – to me, thank you notes are a no brainer. Writing a thank-you note is a clear way to show you actually care and genuinely appreciate something you experienced or received—like an interview, in this case.
We just interviewed a candidate who, before the end of the day, sent the whole team a lovely thank-you note. It was thoughtful, beautifully written, and prompt. We already felt good about her post-interview, but after that, we loved her.
If you’re appreciative of something (or if you want the job you just interviewed for), write a thank you note!
2. Putting your team ahead of yourself
I think of work as a collective effort versus “you do your job, and I’ll do mine.”
It’s rewarding to see a team member jump in or work late to support the team effort on a difficult project. Trust me, I want my team to have work-life balance. But in some situations, sacrificing personal time to support your team is a selfless gesture that also happens to really show your dedication to the company.
I remember growing up in big ad agencies thinking you never leave before your boss—times have changed, of course, but for those that want to get ahead, making sure you have more to do than your boss is always a good idea. And, importantly, it shows that you’re thinking about the broader team and the company as a whole.
It’s all for one—when the team succeeds, we all succeed (and the reverse is true, too).
3. Keeping the office clean and cleaning up after yourself
It should probably go without saying that making a conscious effort to clean up after yourself in the office is the right thing to do. It’s unlikely that people are leaving a mess around themselves intentionally.
That said, this is another area where bringing in a little intention can be a good thing. Being a part of a team means respecting those around you: leaving food, papers, etc. on the conference room table sends a signal that you’re unaware of your environment and the people around you.
Even if you didn’t leave the room messy, even if it’s not your job to clean, take some initiative and clean up anyway. Everything is a team effort—even something as simple as keeping your office tidy.
4. Being prepared
No matter what the circumstance, whether you’re sitting down with a prospective client, having a call with the head of another department at your company, or meeting someone in your dream industry for an informational interview, show up prepared.
Doing the research, taking a proactive approach to preparing for a meeting (internal or external), learning enough about the subject matter—these are ways to show dedication and they convey the fact that you own your work.
So many of us are going through transitional times right now. My work is nuts and we’re making a number of adjustments. I appreciate the team’s preparedness and conscientiousness more than ever.
5. Operating with integrity
My dear friend Dr. Sadeghi taught me that integrity is an approach to life. It’s not just about doing everything right in the grand scheme of things, it’s about the way you operate with the small things, too. Each and every one of your choices and actions are meaningful.
At work, integrity means returning phone calls promptly, responding to emails in a timely and courteous manner, and starting meetings on time. Email typos tell me someone wasn’t thoughtful in their response. Receiving no response at all is even worse. We can all get better at these things. Nobody is perfect. This means that each of us has an opportunity to grow and improve.
We can be more considerate if we focus on how our words and actions make the people around us feel. Sensitivity is a powerful force for improving our awareness and consideration. While we as a society like to glorify traditionally “masculine,” hard skills in the workplace, we can all stand to embrace our soft, feminine skills like sensitivity, especially professionally. (I discuss this concept at length in the book I co-authored, “The Feminine Revolution.”)
Let’s bring this sensitivity to the workplace in the forms of thoughtfulness, consideration, and general awareness about how we’re existing with others, how we’re impacting those around us. This will do wonders for our relationships with others and even the way we feel about ourselves.