It is astonishing how little one feels alone when one loves. ~John Bulwer
Valentine’s Day is traditionally associated with romantic love—retailers have stocked storefronts with love-themed cards and heart-shaped chocolates for those looking to show affection for their beloved (or to elicit eye-rolling from those who disdain the holiday). I’m a sucker for tradition and ritual, and often use holidays and milestones to pause and consider how to use the moment in the professional sphere.
This Valentine season, consider showing some love to your colleagues.
1. Send Candygrams
I’ve written before about limitless praise and expressing appreciation for your team. Take a moment to mentally scan your recent interactions – who could use some love? A colleague who was there in a pinch? A mentor who talked you off the proverbial ledge? A boss who lifted your spirits? A direct report who really shines? An administrator who makes your life easier? Make sure those important to you feel your appreciation and admiration. Craft a deep compliment. Write a note, drop off a little chocolate, and give an extra smile.
2. Play Matchmaker
Think about your network, both inside and outside of your organization. Where can a meaningful professional match be made? Can you think of someone to refer for a job opening? Do you have a great idea for a mentor-mentee match? Can you give a nudge to a colleague who you know could be an amazing fit for a new experience? Play Cupid and be what Keith Ferrazzi calls a super-connector.
3. Display Public Affection
Use this as an opportunity to amplify your appreciation for a colleague or team with a louder megaphone. (click to tweet) How can you expand the reach of your message? Who could be copied on a note of thanks or congratulations? What opportunities may exist to highlight someone special at a team or staff meeting? In addition, consider writing a love note to your organization on LinkedIn or Glassdoor and help spread the love to a wider circle.
4. Give Some Tough Love
Love comes in many forms. Often, the honest and empathic sharing of difficult feedback is an act of real caring. Perhaps there’s a colleague who could truly benefit from hearing constructive tips intended to help him or her improve. Be the one who steps up and makes a difference in that person’s career.
5. Practice Self-Love
Last, but not at all least, is to show yourself some love. We can’t nourish others effectively if our own wells have run dry. Get adequate sleep. Plan to unplug. Treat yourself to an indulgence. Remember that caring for yourself is essential to your ability to care for others. When you’re buying those chocolates for your team, add some in the cart for yourself.