Janet is grateful for the fine Board presentation her direct report, Joe, created. She hasn’t shared that with Joe yet, but plans to when his review comes up next month. Joe feels great that he was given this stretch assignment by Janet. While he believes it was well-received, he has not heard anything from Janet and wonders if she is disappointed in his efforts.

This scenario is all too common. Many people feel uncertain about how and when to express appreciation for a job well done. All too often, this communication of gratitude gets delayed or doesn’t happen at all. Even when a leader attempts to share appreciation, they may not be timely, could lack specificity or be uncertain about what to say. This leaves people wondering if they made a contribution and reduces the likelihood they will want to go the extra mile later. 

What’s a thankful leader to do?

  1. Get input from people who do it well. Talk to other managers about how they have created a culture of appreciation. Adapt best practices such that you can show appreciation in a sincere and natural way.
  2. Make the impact clear. Don’t just talk about the work product or activity itself. Let the employee know the impact of their contributions. (For example, That Board presentation increased the understanding of the issue, and guided the Board’s decision-making about XYZ.)
  3. Go all out with special events and presentations or keep it simple with a kind note or conversation. When it comes to acknowledging people’s contributions, one size does not fit all.

The great thing about appreciation is it is the gift that multiplies. When you regularly recognize excellence, it encourages other people in the organization to do the same. Being appreciated for a job well done has been shown to boost motivation, improve the culture, decrease turnover and increase customer satisfaction.

Want to recognize a great team member? Starting next week, you can comment on Humanergy’s blog with a team member’s name, and you’ll both be eligible to win a free copy of our new book, “What Great Teams Do Great: How Ordinary People Accomplish the Extraordinary.” Mark your calendar for May 20, comment on our blog on that day with the name of a team member, and you each may win a free book!

How do you honor people’s contributions and let them know they make a difference? Comment below or message us.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash