Give them the chocolate

You just finished having dinner at a restaurant with a co-worker. The meal was good and the atmosphere was pleasant. The waiter was attentive – showing you to your table, bringing your drinks, taking your order and clearing up the plates when you finished. He just dropped off your bill and left a couple chocolates as well.

What do you do now?

According to recent studies, you will give him a larger tip than you originally intended. Researchers found that when wait staff left chocolates with the bill they received higher tips than those who didn’t even if the service was the same.

What does this teach us about being a leader? It shows that while people will continue to need you to do the task-related aspects of your job – providing them with direction, eliminating distractions, managing projects and enabling them with the right tools and resources, it is the small supportive actions that they remember and that create stronger levels of engagement and loyalty. It’s taking an interest in their personal life, taking the time to ask deeper questions about the work they are doing, showing appreciation for a job well done, and so forth.

These supportive actions are not meant to take up an equal amount of time as your task-related duties, they are just the extra that show people you care. And when people feel cared for, they want to give more.