Leaders know that it’s important to show appreciation, maintain optimism, and attend to rituals and traditions. These can inspire and motivate.
But consider the element of surprise and novelty. That works even better.
While everyone appreciates “jeans on Friday”, there are more surprising ways to show some thanks.
Consider playing against type:
In a manufacturing, or agricultural, or other blue-collar or casual dress environment, consider a team dinner at a formal restaurant. Dress up. Have a photo shoot and post the best, most out-of-character, shots.
In a button-down or executive environment, explore activities that require sweating, getting dirty, or anything where “impressing” won’t fly; go rock-climbing, bowling, paint-balling, hiking, or get lessons in playing bar darts. Team-building ropes courses don’t count. Just have fun.
For highly routined, or regimented, or fast-paced environments, consider something that involves quiet or reflection. Picnic at a county park. Visit an art museum and retain a curator to give a reflective tour. Do yoga. Overnight in cabins in the woods and have a technology-free campfire.
For free-spirited folks in creative spaces, consider some kind of procedural activity, like cooking lessons or building something.
This is an incomplete list – but you get the idea of surprise and playing against type. Show appreciation and have some fun doing something entirely new!