- Wendy Lynch and Clydette de Groot
A Gift for Any Season
Wondering what to give your favorite co-workers or clients this year? How about a meaningful conversation?
It’s a busy few weeks leading into and celebrating through the holidays. For professionals, it can be even crazier. Year-end obligations collide with family commitments, travel and tradition. Then, before the champagne glasses even come out of the dishwasher, we launch ourselves toward a shiny new set of goals and start again. Even for those who love their work, the annual treadmill can feel daunting.
It’s the hassles that drain us. Schedules and deadlines. Obligations and expectations. The day-to-day grind. When meaning gets lost, we lose energy. It’s hard to be inspired on autopilot.
If you’d like to give a meaningful gift this holiday, consider scheduling a little time in a safe, welcoming space for a conversation. Focus on them, how they are doing, what is happening for them. Help them reconnect with what matters.
While your undivided time and attention will be a special gift, here are a few ideas to consider to allow the conversation to become even more meaningful.
1. Begin with an intention to focus on them. What would you like to have happen for them? How would you like them to feel? Energized, inspired, appreciated, calm, supported? Commit to being fully present and listening to what they say (and when you begin to talk too much, redirect back to them). Use paraphrases and prompts to help them expand their thinking. “So, you’d really like more time to focus on X…..say more about that."
2. Open the door to things that matter. Frame the conversation toward more aspirational, rather than technical, topics. “Hey John, I just wanted a chance to connect. It seems like we get so caught up in the pace around here that we rarely talk about the important stuff. I’m wondering….
How you’re doing?”
What you’ve found rewarding in the recent client work?”
What you’re looking forward to in the upcoming project?” (we call this the Energy Question because it taps into our intrinsic motivation)
3. Share honest appreciation. Maybe, “you know, I’ve been meaning to tell you how impressed I am in the way you mentor the new team members. It really helps them get up to speed. How do you decide what to work on with them?”
Giving appreciation shows that you a) notice them and b) value them.Receiving appreciation allows them to reflect on their own abilities and remind themselves how they matter in this role.If this reconnects them to something meaningful about the work, it can lead to further discussion about how they can continue or expand their contribution.
It doesn’t have to be the holidays; meaningful conversation is a gift we can give any time. Consider giving your time and attention to help someone reconnect with what matters. You will both benefit from building a stronger connection.