I attended my college graduation ceremony in Michigan on a Saturday, drove to Washington DC on Sunday and started my first job at a public relations firm in Washington, DC on Monday.
Little did I know I was about to learn an important leadership lesson that has stayed with me my entire career, and that’s the power of appreciation.
I was nervous and unsure of my new surroundings on my first day of work.  But I was lucky I reported to a senior vice president who went out of his way to show patience, kindness and enthusiasm for my joining the firm.  At the end of my first week at work he called me into his office and said, “I just want you to know how much I appreciated your work this week.  Your contributions to our clients and our team made a difference.”

I came away from that brief conversation feeling energized, engaged and looking forward to being back in the office the following week.
That show of appreciation took 15 seconds, cost $0 and boosted my confidence and productivity.


Saying thank you is easy, and especially in times of crisis and uncertainty, it’s critically important to find time to say “thank you.”  

In a May 22, 2020 Harvard Business Review article (see link below), author Sabina Nawaz pointed out, “As managers, it’s essential to express gratitude to your employees, especially now. For one thing, being thankful to your team is the right thing to do. People are battling fears about the pandemic and juggling home and work in close proximity. Almost every employee needs to hear that their dedication is noticed and it matters. What’s more, gratitude is proven to show improvements in self-esteem, achieving career goals, decision making, productivity, and resilience.”

When I’m working with my coaching clients, we look for ways to “operationalize” appreciations to make sure they happen.  We add sections to the end of team meeting agendas to recognize team members, build it into discussion guides during 1:1 meetings, put monthly phone calls on the calendar just to check in to see how their team members and family are doing, mail a card or send a small gift to the family. Ask your team members for ideas on how to recognize team members and others.

COACHING TIP FOR MANAGERS: Thank and recognize spouses, partners and significant others for their contribution to the success of your team members. Invite them to company updates, send an email of appreciation, mail a gift, give them a call.  This is often an overlooked group that makes sacrifices and should also be appreciated.

There’s never been a better time to show your people you care than right now.  Go head – pick up your phone, laptop, tablet or pen and take a few seconds to build into your team with a show of appreciation.



HBR: In Times of Crisis a Little Thanks Goes Along Way



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