What’s your reaction when you hear a 5-time Super Bowl winning quarterback state he feels everyone could be more appreciated? Part of it depends on whether you’re a Patriots fan, but let’s take that out of the equation. As an employer, it hit me like a ton of bricks because Tom Brady is one of the most visible, respected, most-tenured players in the NFL. If Tom Brady feels a bit unappreciated, how is everyone else supposed to feel? Every day, he makes a choice to be the best person and athlete he can be, so why aren’t his actions enough to make him feel this way? It’s simply because he feels as though he’s more of a commodity than a valued person. And that’s the NFL, it’s not everywhere, right? Wrong!
As a leader, it’s one’s responsibility to encourage, foster, develop and challenge others. These “small” actions are a few of my favorite tips for showing appreciation.
- Really care! Spending time talking to co-workers, learning about their likes, dislikes, families, friends, weekends, interests, etc. goes so far. An investment of a few minutes every day of pure engagement lets people know you care about them. It lets you share in their wins, disappointments, and better understand what makes this person happy. If you don’t work with people you like, maybe it’s time to consider a new move.
- Encourage growth! Watching people grow before your eyes is magical, especially when they are adults! We often forget that learning is an everyday necessity to our well-being and development. Like everything, if people don’t grow, they wither. If someone isn’t trying to challenge themselves, give them a project that will enable them to stretch and then watch it unfold. Be there to assist, provide guidance, but let them succeed or fail because either way, he/she will be forced out of their comfort zone.
- Be Patient! If you’re a type A personality, like many leaders, you want results and fast. However, not everyone works in the same fashion so be patient with people when coaching and developing them. If assigning a project, as mentioned above, some may be resistant and might need the extra time and patience.
- Respect each person! Treat every employee as a person first! Employees are people first and not treated as a commodity or replaceable component of your business. Every person brings a unique perspective, traits, skills and personality. Remove just one person from a team or company and the dynamic will shift, smaller in large companies, bigger in smaller ones. Value the person who has chosen to work with you and for you because they made the choice to be with you.
- Thank them! Thanking a person goes far, even when they are paid to do their work. If a person goes above and beyond, makes your life easier, shares a laugh with you to make your day better, thank them. We all get caught up in our own challenges, issues, and workload, but stopping to thank someone is a small but powerful gift from one person to another.
Technology makes us more effective and efficient but it also has made us busier and forces us to do more, make the most of our day. It is also what can detract us from matters most – the people we share one-third of our lives with.