ben jones

Smiles Are Contagious

FEC Specialist, Live Oak Bank

Create Smiles Everyday…this is the mantra of my dear friend Michael Getlan.  Smiles are simply at their core, an expression of positive attitude. We can all create and deliver smiles everyday by simply deciding to be nice and project a positive attitude.  It’s easy, simply wake up and look at yourself in the mirror with a positive mindset of being happy…then SMILE. Done. Easy.  But now I want you to share your smile with your company and in life.

Action equals reaction and the smile we share is returned as a reward for our gift of giving.  This means that the smile we create every day can be given to others which means it’s communicable and if someone can receive it, it’s catchable and if it’s catchable, it’s teachable. Here are a few teaching steps toward sharing a smile in your organization.

1) People have voices, listen to them.  Listen, give credit and implement the ideas and suggested changes of your staff. Even if your style is enlightened dictatorship finding collaborative opportunities is morale building.

2) Create Paths. People value the feeling of progress.  Create paths that allow your people to grow in multiple directions.

3) Title and Structure can be Fun.  I used to share a title with Michael Getlan, Director of Enthusiasm & Opportunity. My former partner was Queen of Fun and Laughter. Hard not to smile at either of these titles.

4) Walk the Talk: As your firm’s leader you must play by the same rules and at the same time you must maintain your leadership role which places you at multiple levels. This is the smile of respect.

5) Recognize and Reward: This is simply part of the value equation for all people. Celebrate your employees, your teams and their respective successes. Personal praise via companywide email or chatter is great but old fashioned handwritten notes create that unexpected smile!

6) Create Traditions: Outings, breaks and shared experiences that become traditions form corner stones in a company’s foundation and those shared experiences become anticipated events. This is the ‘I can’t wait smile’.

7) Manage to Have Fun: The pun here is intended – manage for fun and then manage to have fun with your staff and team. Whimsy and spontaneity are the key ingredients to generating the unexpected smile.

Ultimately smiling is a choice and everyday each of us has the opportunity to choose to smile. We can share that smile many ways: non-verbal, big and loud, written words, gifts, images or in pictures. Remember that a smile is an expression of who we are that day.  We make the choice to smile every single day.  I chose happy and the reflection of that choice is the smile on my face.  Join me!