I was on a zoom call recently as an invited panelist to speak on innovation and leadership in conjunction with an event called Africa Tech Week. Participants attended from all over Africa including Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. In the course of the discussion, it came out that it was my birthday. The moderator paused the discussion, invited everyone to come off mute, and led everyone in a short rendition of the “happy birthday” song for me. It was a simple gesture, but really quite touching and unexpected.

Now, in the season of giving, what can you do that is touching and unexpected for those you work with? What can you do for your team? What can you do for your peers?

Research has shown that it takes five positive interactions to balance out one negative interaction and keep relationships healthy (3:1 in the case of business relationships). Can you do your part and apply more positive weight on the relationship scales?

Simple gestures can have a huge impact, especially given the year we have been through. Consider making a special effort to show acknowledgement, empathy, support, and appreciation, especially for those with whom you may be a little distant or with whom relationships may be a little strained.

Actions of unexpected generosity can create enormous success and foster a sense of deep fulfillment…which, coincidentally, is my birthday wish for all of you.