When people comment on the leader of their organization, they often personalize their thoughts. They recall the little things that make a big difference. Maybe it was a personal note complementing them on the success of a child. It might have been flowers delivered to their office commemorating a work anniversary. It might have been a personal note thanking them for a successful project.
Little things can also make a negative impression. It might have been the lack of a response to a concern you expressed. It could have been an observation of you parking in a handicapped spot. It might have been a company-wide memo that disparaged the efforts of you and others.
Every great leader has a system for making the most of the opportunities to do the little things correctly. They didn’t just discover how to do this when they became a leader. They started doing the little things at a young age. Here are some things you can do to develop that personal touch with others that makes a big difference.
- Setup on your phone a daily to-do list for the little things. Here are some things you might want to put on your list.
- Thank yous for those who helped you
- Birthday wishes
- Follow ups from previous conversations (e.g. Hope my advice was helpful to you, can I be of any further help?)
- Congratulation notes
- A personal note (e.g. Haven’t heard from you in a while, hope you are doing well.)
- Develop the ability to read people’s emotions. When you see someone who seems sad, troubled, or otherwise not themselves, reach out to them. Ask if you can be of help.
- Treat everyone you work with respect.
- Avoid escalating silly arguments by saying “I respect your opinion, but I just disagree.”
- Don’t let your personal feelings show. You might be having a bad day, but you don’t want others to be affected by what you are experiencing
- Send articles of potential interest to those you work with. Sometimes they may not see something that could be important to them.
- Send a personal update to those you have worked with in the past, especially those who have helped you. This is just a courtesy and a way to let others know how much their support meant to you.
- Make it a point to observe people around you. You might be able to help them in some small way (e.g. let me help you carry that.) These small gestures will give you a good feeling and create the image you want for yourself.
Small things are often remembered long after the more significant things you are asked to do. They define who you are as a person.