Did you know that some of the best leaders wrote hundreds of personal Thank You cards each year to praise and appreciate their employees?
Here are just a few of those successful leaders:
- Frank Blake: Former CEO, The Home Depot
- Dan Cathy: CEO, Chick-fil-A
- Mark Zuckerberg: CEO, Facebook
- Douglas Conant: Former CEO, Campbell Soup Company
Now, over to you… how often do you praise and appreciate your direct reports?
If the answer wasn’t ‘daily’ or at least ‘weekly’ then keep reading…
I strongly believe that paise is one of those key habits that distinguishes a good leader from a great leader.
Not only is it the right thing to do but it also increases employee engagement, satisfaction levels, and as a result, it boosts productivity.
Plus, and not to your surprise, a lack of praise and employees feeling undervalued is a surefire way to demotivate employees.
There is no good reason not to do it… and if you think you don’t have the time, then think again…
Most praise can be given in a matter of seconds and writing a personal Thank You note will take no longer than a few minutes.
Are you convinced by now and ready to pull out a pen and a card or start an email?
But here is what I want you to keep in mind.
- Make it a HABIT
- Be SPECIFIC
Make it a HABIT
To truly be a leader who is known to appreciate and praise others, you have to make it a habit.
All the CEOs listed above had a specific time of the day allotted to write these notes. None of them did it randomly or when they ‘felt like it’.
So think about a specific time of the day or week, when you plan to sit down and write a set number of emails, Slack messages or handwritten notes. Then put that time into your calendar!
Alternatively, you can also simply make it a point to give one piece of praise or appreciation to each employee during their regular 1-on-1s or during team meetings. But don’t wing it! Think of it in advance!
Or… what I used to do is to send voice memos to people during my commute. I’d simply grab my phone while waiting at a red light and record a voice memo to the 1 or 2 people I wanted to appreciate that day.
It didn’t take longer than a minute each but it made a huge difference in my relationship.
I’m emphasizing the word “specific” because a “good job!” is nowhere near as powerful as saying something like, “I really appreciated how well you structured and wrote that report. It was easy to read your executive summary allowed me to understand your main argument right away.”
“Thank you for always speaking up in team meetings and providing your unique perspective.”
Check out this resource here for more ideas on how to be specific with your praise.
Now, one last thing…
When giving praise, it’s important that you are genuine, and truly mean what you are saying.
This involves appreciating your employee for who he or she is. And if you have a hard time finding something to appreciate then 1) look again 🧐and 2) call me ☎️. We should talk.
Appreciating and praising your team members—not because you want something from them—is an incredibly powerful tool and a gift.
It positively impacts how your colleagues feel about themselves, about your relationship with them, and about the culture of the team.
“Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.” – Sam Walton, founder of Walmart
This quote is such a great reminder and a great way to leave you with some for thought this week.