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Six Simple Ways to Show Professional Appreciation

Leadership moment - show gratitude

We have written multiple times about the power of expressing gratitude in professional settings to improve employee engagement and raise the quality and quantity of work done (aka “productivity”!)

And it is not complicated, nor a great burden on a leader, to make the expression of appreciation a core part of their engagement toolkit.

Highlight Everyday Wins: Take a moment each day to publicly thank a colleague or employee for a specific achievement. You should not wait for big wins to find successes to celebrate.

Pay it Forward: Repeat an act of appreciation that has been bestowed to you. Find the next person to thank, and keep the chain of appreciation going. This is especially important when building relationships with peers and superiors, but it is also behavior you need to model for your own followers.

Give Small Gifts: Flowers work well for some (get to know your audience!) So do $10 gift cards for coffee or lunch. It is, after all, the thought that counts!

Write a Note: Handwritten thank-you cards or letters are rare in this digital age, and so have greater impact. Take advantage of that. Reference the achievement that earned the thanks, keep it short, and make sure everyone gets one for a specific reason over the next few months. Then repeat the process.

Return a Favor: If you reached out for help on a hard task, or when you needed a peer or superior to intercede for you, remember it, thank them, and find a way to return the favor. Never forget it!

Tell Others: Some folks enjoy public accolades, other don’t. But find a way to express your appreciation for good work publicly. This could be highlighting the success in a team meeting. Or, write a note to your superiors about the success, giving full credit to those that achieved it. Add the note to their personnel file. Do this more than once during the year for each person who works for you. Find an achievement to highlight!

Why do this?

Team Culture CTAPeople who feel appreciated are grateful. Expressing your own gratitude has beneficial impacts on overall wellness for both you and them:

Improved health – Regular expressions of appreciation raise self-esteem, energy and engagement, by reducing work-related stress and uncertainty. People who feel they are appreciated get more sleep, report fewer health issues (take less time off), and exhibit a greater desire to create a positive work ethic within their team. This has material value.

More empathy – Those who feel appreciated are more apt to express appreciation for others, creating a virtuous cycle of positive energy and improved group contribution. Put another way, it reduces negativity, backbiting and blame-throwing if you consistently and equitably express appreciation for work well done.

More resiliency – People will recover better from negative events if they have a reservoir of self-worth from which to summon the energy and clear thinking needed to respond constructively.

Showing appreciation to workplace colleagues is not “extra work” that you get to “when you have a moment.” You must shift to a mindset that these are actually the most important moments in your leadership day.

How do you currently express appreciation for work well done within your team, or with collaborators?

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