What’s not to love about Fridays?

There’s nothing better than clocking off at 5pm (or earlier, if you’re lucky), pouring a glass of your preferred tipple, and toasting to the end of the week with friends or colleagues.

Although I love my job, I always look forward to Friday afternoons with eager anticipation. And I’m sure the same goes for most people.

Here is a picture of me enjoying my Friday evening drink just last week, with my friend Amy (who was taking the photo). It was the perfect evening for it, and the perfect location – from my deck, overlooking the water. Bliss…

On this particular occasion I noticed something meaningful in my recurring celebration of the end of the week.

And that is the power of rituals.

Suzi McAlpine

Not just for the religiously inclined, rituals are an integral part of every culture. They are what help us mark beginnings, endings, and rites of passage. They almost always involve a coming together of people.  And this connectedness is so vital for well being and the ability to function.  Pretty important stuff for leaders to consider.

The impact of rituals can be easily overlooked in organisations, but they are such a potent way of providing meaning to situations that signify change. They are powerful symbols of what is valued in an organisation’s culture. They are a way of marking important occasions. Imagine, for example, the impact of not acknowledging someone’s retirement.

One of the most powerful and moving rituals to witness is that of the legendary Haka that the All Blacks perform (for those of you around the world unfamiliar with the All Blacks, the Haka is the Maori posture dance performed by the New Zealand rugby team before their matches). It expresses the team’s pride in their heritage and teammates. Neuroscientific research shows that rituals like the Haka trigger feelings of connectivity, timelessness, and meaning, which stimulate mental flow states. These, in turn, reduce anxiety and increase energy and focus.

For me, my Friday evening wine is my ritual – an opportunity to actively acknowledge the good work we have done throughout the week (or kiss a bad week goodbye!) and transition into my other roles outside that of being a leadership coach, such as my role as a mother.

Toasting to the end of the working week is commonplace in here in New Zealand, and indeed all around the world, and is a leadership ritual I wholeheartedly embrace and encourage!

So with that in mind, I’m off to have mine…and whatever your Friday ritual may be, I hope you enjoy yours too.