In the dynamic and often high-pressure world of STEM and academia, the success of teams and projects heavily depends on the individual contributions of each member. A common yet critical oversight many leaders face is failing to recognise and appreciate these invaluable contributions, especially from their most committed team members. This oversight can lead to a significant loss – both in terms of talent and morale.
(Particularly in academia, this can become difficult when the way in which people contribute or judge productivity is linear but quite diverse - not simply coming from the business and productivity frame but having distinct outcomes with broader implications for humanity, truth, and justice, making it a multifaceted and nuanced endeavour).
The Unnoticed Departure of a Valuable Team Member
Imagine this: an essential contributor on your team decides to leave. This departure isn’t due to a lack of challenge or opportunity but rather because they don’t feel sufficiently seen, heard, valued or appreciated. As a leader, you might be grateful for their contributions and believe you’re expressing your gratitude, but if these feelings go unshared, they feel unnoticed.
This scenario is more common than one might think, and it brings to light an essential question: Can you identify the indispensable individuals in your team? These are the ones who demonstrate your values, consistently deliver, innovate, mentor, and drive your endeavours forward. Recognising others is just the first step; the crucial part is developing a system and leadership practice of never taking them for granted and ensuring they know their worth and contribution to the team.
This is for you, Leaders:
As you develop your system of recognition, you will be putting your money where your mouth is. After all, it’s not just enough to think it - you must ‘lead by example’. Set a precedent for appreciation and recognition within the team. When team members see leaders appreciating each other, they are more likely to do the same.
Listen Up Non-Leader
If you're not in a leadership position, you still play a vital role in fostering a culture of appreciation. Here are a few skills and actions that when applied authentically, can signal a step change in your leadership influence:
In the world of STEM and academia, where the focus is often on data and results, the human element can sometimes be overlooked. It’s important to remember that behind every successful outcome, project, discovery, or innovation, there are people dedicating their skills, time, and passion. Valuing these individuals not only enhances team morale but also drives better results, fosters innovation, and creates a more fulfilling work environment.
Click on the image below for a quick reference guide I hope will assist you on your leadership journey:
Are you curious about who the key players are on your team? Do you want to explore effective ways to show appreciation and foster a culture of recognition in your team? Let’s catch up over a coffee and discuss the strategies that can help you and your team thrive. Together, we can ensure that every member of your team feels valued and appreciated, paving the way for continued success and innovation in your field.
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