Discover more from Admired Leadership Field Notes
The Relational Affirmation of Positive Surprise
Leaders who positively surprise others keep them on their toes in a devilishly strategic way. While people prefer predictability and consistency in those they work with and follow, they make one important exception. Team members prize leaders who surprise them positively.
We are surprised any time we fail to predict what will happen in the next moment. When something unpredictable occurs, our brain springs into action. We instantly try to figure out what just happened. Then, we react to the surprise with delight if it benefits us.
Surprise from leaders always shakes things up. Team members relish surprise because it activates their senses and makes them feel appreciated.
They quickly conclude the only reason why a leader would act out of the ordinary and engage in a positive surprise is because they care about people and their happiness. As a result, they feel more connected and committed to the source of their delight. Not surprisingly (pun intended), we are drawn to people who positively surprise us.
The best surprises are simple and heartfelt. They aren’t bottles of wine or spa gift certificates. They are the simple expressions of those who value others and their everyday happiness.
Showing up to support someone
Praise in an unusual medium
Sharing a photo of special experience
A new song not to miss
Sending a map or local history prior to a trip
Sharing a family recipe
Collecting a brochure for an exciting adventure
A postcard sent from a vacation spot
A recommendation for a film, podcast, or book,
A link to a favorite personal trainer or nutritionist
Dropping off a favorite delicacy
There are thousands of other expressions you can try.
In a world that values consistency and predictability, surprise can have a profound impact on how leaders and team members connect if the surprises occur with some frequency. Good leaders use positive surprise to elevate relationships and tell people they matter. It just takes a little creativity and an abundance of caring.
Who will you surprise today?