Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.”
MLK’s commitment to servitude inspired people around to globe to work for every person’s freedom, by any means necessary. His selfless acts of service to the country live on well past his death. Each January we reflect and remember the lessons he instilled. While Martin Luther King, Jr. primarily spoke on civil rights, his strong leadership can be incorporated into our work lives to inspire us to give back.
As we remember the great civil rights work of Martin Luther King, Jr., let’s consider how we can give back in the workplace.
Here are 4 ways you can give back at work and make a difference in the lives of your coworkers:
Become a Mentor - Use your unique experience to mentor a junior employee. Reflect on how you felt at the same stage of their career and empathize with their challenges, offering solutions to consider. If you don’t have years of work experience under your belt, consider reaching out to your alma mater and mentoring someone who shares the same major as you. Be a helping voice to others on a similar path.
Give a Shoutout - Workplaces are often a thankless place. But a little thanks goes a long way! Did a team member step up and help you complete a project? Let them know! Did a client love the work your production team did on the latest project? Give the production team a shoutout and thank them for their hard work. By encouraging your coworkers on their “wins,” you’re contributing to a healthy and productive work environment.
Champion Volunteer Efforts - There’s no doubt volunteering can help others, but it can also boost your overall well-being. For most of us, it’s not a part of the regular routine. Why not lead the charge and put together volunteering efforts for your company or team? Start by scoping out volunteer groups in your area, then ask your team which they would want to work with. You’ll be giving back to the community while also adding value and confidence in your workplace.
Empower Team Members - No matter your place on the organizational chart, you can give back by empowering others. Here are some ways to empower others, no matter your job title:
Invite coworkers to share their ideas on a new project or client task. They may add a fresh perspective and feel empowered by learning more aspects of the job.
Help your team members grow by giving direct, constructive feedback. Feedback is often viewed as uncomfortable, but most people want more of it. Structure the feedback in an empowering and constructive way. Don’t tear down but build up!
Work with others to identify and develop skills they want to learn. Empowering them to explore new skills will help them gain confidence and become a more dynamic coworker.
Demonstrate trust by not micromanaging. Instead, establish regular check-ins. This trust empowers your team members to do their job with feeling like you’re looking over their shoulder.
A team that empowers each other to do more, be better, and grow is a true testament to a strong culture. Give back and contribute to a positive culture by empowering those around you.
Interested in more ways to give back? Thank you notes go a long way in showing gratitude. Learn more about how to lead by serving.