People are blown away by simple expressions of praise, affirmation, and gratitude. I know I am genuinely shocked out of my socks when my kids offer an unsolicited, “Thanks, Mom!” for something mundane or when they notice major effort on my part.
This past week I spoke at a staff retreat for a ministry I deeply admire. I was moved by the words of thanks that were shared. Their words reminded me just how life-giving affirmation can be. The experience also made me wonder how I can do this even more effectively with the teams I lead.
Here are 5 simple ways to thank your team for a job well done:
- Write a note. Get out a pen and actually write out your appreciation. Share the difference their action, attitude, or approach makes to you and your team. (And maybe include a gift card or their favorite snack time treat.)
- Tell them face to face how grateful you are to work with them. Go for a walk or treat them to their favorite coffee/lunch/pie spot. Share with them the difference their good work made to you and to the bottom line.
- Bring in the big boss. If you are not their direct supervisor, make a call or send an email to their boss sharing your glowing review. If you are their direct supervisor, send a note to your boss about her performance. Ask your boss to say thanks for her hard work the next time they see her or in the next staff meeting.
- Praise their efforts to their spouse/significant other/parents/friends. (This is one of my favorites!) I love when I see team members out with friends or family and I get the chance to express my appreciation for their work to those that mean the most to them. Another fun way to do this is to invite their families to join you for a special gathering, and then brag on their efforts.
- Talk about them behind their back – in a good way. When sending emails to your whole team, include your words of gratitude for specific people and how they made an impact. Or, share the good news of their efforts in meetings with others – even if they aren’t there.
One final note: Praise and affirmation is more authentic, and appreciated, when specific. Instead of saying a generic, “Great job!” go ahead and tell your team what was so great about the job they did. What was it about their skills, strengths, personal approach or performance that stood out to you?