Why You Should Celebrate Every Victory

woman celebrating victory
This leader discovered 3 things that she needs to do more to build her team. Her lesson can apply to any situation in life. (iStockPhoto | Maridav)

If you were to have a moment with any of the people I lead (staff or volunteers) you would learn far more about me than this blog reveals.

Though I know that statement doesn't shock anyone, I think it's worth stating. Please don't be deceived by the "me" represented on this blog. It's only a part of who I am ... as a leader, as a parent, as a wife, as a Christ-follower. It only tells part of the story. And typically the parts that make me look good.

Now that that's out of the way. Can we get a little real here?

I stink at celebrating.

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I mean I'm really bad at it.

I'm spending some intentional time asking why I don't celebrate well ... why I move past events, accomplishments or moments of success so quickly. For years I've blamed it on "drivenness."

"I'm just driven. That's in the rear-view mirror. There's more to do. Let's charge ahead!"

Though that may be true, the problem is I fail to take a moment to honor those around me who gave above and beyond expectation. I fail to recognize those who brought organization, creativity, clarity, focus or fun to the process. I fail to embrace the people that came together merging their individual talents to create an unbelievable team.

And this failure of mine is too big to ignore. This "hole" I keep stepping in is a hindrance to my ability to lead for three reasons:

What's Rewarded Is Repeated

It's a classic truth that we learned as toddlers ... whether we realized it or not. A parent learns that if they want a certain behavior repeated, they reward it. You may not remember your personal potty training journey, but I would suggest that the majority of this reading audience was potty trained using some sort of reward. Do I need to go into further detail here?

Translating such a timeless truth to my leadership context today ... when I take time to reward and recognize a great act, I have a far greater chance that act will be repeated. Not just by the person I recognized ... but by others around them that want to be recognized too!

Recognize those who are doing what you want to see everyone doing.

Recognition Increases Buy In

When I sincerely recognize someone's hard work ... creative idea ... extra effort ... I gain a little more of their heart. People want to know they are doing a good job. And we help them to know when and how they are doing it by recognizing their efforts and celebrating their wins.

The critical part of this exercise is the sincerity. It doesn't work if you aren't sincere. If you can't be sincere ... don't say anything.

Celebration Creates Unity

Celebration creates synergy. Synergy creates momentum. And any coach knows ... teams with momentum win. Teams that celebrate increase scores on the scoreboard.

It's one thing for the leader to recognize a great job. It's another level of health when members of the team celebrate each other.

So, here is where you can help me.

How do you celebrate the accomplishments of your team?

Gina McClain is a speaker, writer and children's ministry director at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tenn. Her marriage to Kyle keeps her marginally sane, while their three kids (Keegan, Josie and Connor) keep her from taking herself too seriously. Visit her blog at ginamcclain.com for more information about her ministry.

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