Champion Leadership Tip #4 – Great Leaders Know It’s All About “Thanks-Giving”

This week is a special holiday week in America as we celebrate all the things in life for which we are grateful. We celebrate this gratitude with a large feast with our closest friends and family.

As we move into the holiday season which starts with the “Thanksgiving” holiday this Thursday, it got me thinking about how great leaders show genuine appreciation for the efforts of those they lead and create situations to recognize those efforts in special ways that connect with their followers.

A little “thanks” goes a long way, as long as it is specific and genuine. Well-done shows of appreciation by managers and leaders can improve employee morale and motivation. They can also go a long way towards replacing the need to continually throw salary raises and bonuses at employees in the hope of improving their morale and motivation.

Studies continue to show that in lieu of appreciation and feeling valued in the workplace employees pine for higher wages, bonuses and benefits, which creates an entitlement mentality and wealthier unhappy and unappreciated employees.

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving Holiday spend time in the next few days working on and implementing one or both of these ideas:

  1. Invest a few minutes each day to write down a couple of specific things you appreciate about each of the people on your team. Then, invest just one-two minutes with each individual person to share what you wrote in a face-to-face conversation.
  2. In your next staff meeting, open it up by going around the table one person at a time and share “one-thing” you appreciate about each individual on your team (the public show of appreciation will have a huge impact on the overall morale of your team and create a collective and contagious positive feeling).
  3. Write a hand-written “Thank You” note expressing your gratitude for the contributions your team member has made. Again, here, be specific as to what it is the team member does to contribute to the effort. Handwritten notes are a lost art in this day of e-mail and text messaging and I guarantee will have a huge impact.

One caveat that I can not stress enough. Your comments must be specific to the individual and not just generic praise. By specific I mean pointing out a specific incident in detail, or a specific achievement that made a difference to the team, the company or helped you as a leader do something different or better.

For example – “Jim, I don’t know if you realize how big a help it was and what a difference it made last week when you went out of your way to help Steve prepare for his presentation to XYZ Company. I don’t think we would have gotten that contract without the insights you were able to provide to Steve. Thank you for taking the initiative to go the extra mile when you recognized the need.”

Have fun with it and enjoy the process by noticing the reactions and feedback, both verbal and non-verbal, you receive after doing these. If you do, I believe it will become addicting to you and contagious for your organization and will easily begin to improve the performance of your team.