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appreciationIt is that time of year that people remember what they are thankful for and to most of us it is the best time of the year. For whom should you be thankful for and show appreciation? There can be a long list – customer, suppliers, family, friends, and so on. But, as leaders, we also need to be thankful for our colleagues, team members and direct reports and show appreciation for their efforts as well.

There is usually much to be thankful for even if it has been a difficult year. Take the time to think back over the whole year and consider when people gave extra effort to get a project completed. Think about times that your team came together to dazzle a customer with excellent service. Think about a peer that took the time to work with you to solve a problem you were wrestling with for a month.

Leaders can give thanks and show appreciation in many ways – bonuses are always appreciated; but not always possible. Just as you should think about what you are thankful for, you need to give thought to how you can thank people in a way that really means something to them. Here are some guidelinesThank you on how to give thanks.

  • Don’t overlook anyone. Whatever the method you choose to show your appreciation, be sure it recognizes everyone in that group. Even if someone did not perform at their best over the year, think of something they did that was positive.
  • Try to Make the Thanks Meaningful. Give some thought about what is most important to the person you are showing appreciation. Even with customers, break from the mold and send something other than the annual fruit basket that will simply be dropped off in the break room. What would be meaningful to the customer, your peers, and your team?
  • Consider Time Off. At this time of year people are busy with tasks beyond work and there never seems to be enough time. Think about how you could give people some additional time off. One company we have worked with gives everyone an extra day off in early December as a “shopping day.” This can be an inexpensive but meaningful perk. When giving time off, be sure to be equitable and also be sure that your mission is not impacted.
  • Just a simple “Thank You” goes a long way. Talk to everyone one-on-one to tell him or her you are thankful for the work they have done over the year. Be specific – it shows that you remember the work they have done. This is an excellent approach for thanking peers and team members. A sincere thank you given in private goes a long way toward motivating a person to do well moving forward. Even more thoughtful is a hand-written note expressing your thanks.

First BookTo close, we here at Renew Leadership want to thank you for an excellent year and we appreciate your loyalty. We hope that we have been able to help you increase your performance and the performance of your team. In addition to our heartfelt thanks, all of our books are on holiday sale through the end of the year. A portion of all books sales goes to the charity, First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides brand-new books to kids in need – 135 million distributed & counting. Thank you for joining us in sharing the love of reading to children in need!

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Ben McDonald

Ben is a leadership and talent development thought leader. He has worked with executive teams in over 20 countries and multiple industries growing and inspiring talent and organizations to achieve their best.

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