Stop for a moment and think back to the past few meetings you’ve had with your team. Were those gatherings only focused on fixing problems? If so, it may be time to reassess your management approach.
There is no doubt these types of problem-solving meetings are essential, but they shouldn’t represent the only way you interact with your team. In fact, I often see leaders who only consult with their team when things go wrong. This is a mistake that could have negative implications for your team and your overall organization over the long run.
Failing to show appreciation to your employees in a meaningful way can create a workplace that is dull and transactional, with employees who just go through the motions because they don’t feel like what they’re contributing is adding value or making an impact.
The good news is that expressing gratitude freely actually has the power to transform your organization’s culture for the better. Research suggests gratitude can reduce stress, improve employee performance and encourage empathy and problem-solving skills. Giving recognition and showing appreciation is also an effective way to coach and develop others while setting an overall positive and collaborative tone within your company.
The simple truth is that we all require a feeling of purpose and accomplishment from the time we spend at work, which is why effective leaders must take time to show gratitude and give positive feedback to team members regularly.
Here are five ways to make sure your team members know they matter.
Surprise Your Team with a Treat
Maybe it’s doughnuts or cookies or some peak-season fruit you found at the farmers market. But whatever it is, don’t just drop it in the break room and head off to your office. Take some time to explain to your team members that you are showing your appreciation for a job well done.
Take a Trip
Touring another business outside of your field can be a nice break that also offers the opportunity for valuable insights into how other businesses work. I recommend planning a trip out of the office every quarter if possible. When choosing a company to visit, the further away from your organization’s area of expertise it is, the better.
Make sure your team knows the excursion is an opportunity for them to enjoy being away from the office and to relax a little. If they learn some valuable lessons from observing how another company operates, that’s a bonus.
Recognize Success in Front of Others
While it’s common for managers to hold postmortem meetings after projects to talk about what worked and what didn’t, we are much less likely to hold those meetings at all when things go smoothly.
That’s a shame, because post-project meetings are an excellent opportunity for recognition and team-building. Allow your team time and space to discuss their wins and to pat each other on the back. An excellent way to get the conversation started is to ask each member of your team to offer one positive thing about another team member.
Write a Note
One of my favorite (and one of the most effective) ways to show appreciation for team members is to simply sit down and draft a handwritten note. This works for specific accomplishments or successes related to a particular project, but can be equally effective when you just explain in simple terms why you appreciate this person. This method is a testament to the power of small gestures.
Send Praise Up the Ladder
Recognizing good performance within your team by sharing those successes upward with executives at your company is an excellent way to show team members you care about their contributions.
This could be as simple as sending an email to the executive detailing the accomplishment and copying the team member on the message. This simple gesture can give your team member a win in the minds of executives that they might not normally have access to.
Remember: Gratitude can be a powerful tool. Adding these simple methods to show appreciation to your management approach can help your team members feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment in their everyday work and fully realize their potential.
Success Labs is a full-service, strategic organizational and leadership development company located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For more than 25 years our expert team of consultants has worked with hundreds of companies to explore their business potential and improve their company and cultural performance. Contact us to get proactive about your people strategy.