6 Ways Leaders Can Show Appreciation

Everybody desires to be noticed in one way or another. Tony Robins points out that one of the 6 human needs is significance - a desire to be seen, heard and listened to. As leaders, we can address this need by showing sincere appreciation.

Recognizing employee achievements can contribute greatly to increase morale. People who feel more appreciated tend to be happier and more productive. The key is that showing appreciation isn't something that you do to "check the box" but it becomes a keystone of your company's culture.

1. Say “Thank You"

The simplest, most immediate form of showing gratitude is just saying, “thank you for your contribution”. Often as leaders we are so focused on Constant And Never-Ending Improvement ("CANI", another Tony Robbins' idea) that we forget to stop, reflect on what we've accomplished & show gratitude to our team.

2. Celebrate Personal Events

Celebrating their birthday, engagement, wedding, newborn baby, and other special life events. We maintain a company birthday calendar - every time someone new is hired we add their birthday and set it recur every year. We give each team a $50 budget to buy a cake, donuts, or lunch to celebrate. Once we had an employee tell us it was the first time his birthday was ever celebrated at work.

3. Schedule 1-on-1's

Proactively schedule 1-on-1 sit downs on a regular basis to talk about their personal and professional goals. Ideally this meeting should take place outside of your office. A local coffee or lunch spot is my recommendation. Have a casual conversation and learn what’s important to them. Look for ways that you can help support them reach their goals.

Here's a copy of the 1-1 we use. I'll be doing a deep dive on this topic in the near future

Discuss if they’re having a hard time with certain people or projects. If they are, offer coaching and provide goal-oriented feedback. Feedback isn't a one way street, ask them what you or the company could improve on.

4. Celebrate Company Wins

Celebrate company milestones like setting a new daily, weekly or monthly record of sales, customer count, or other important KPI. Be visual, display your goals and update progress regularly. The more the people see how their work affects the targets, the more they are driven to achieve those.

We often celebrate company records with "fancy lunches" -- $100 budget to get something better than pizza -- cheesesteaks, chik-fi-la, chiptole, red lobster, applebees, whatever the team wants.

5. Host Raffles To Drive a Focus Items

Raffles are a fun way to increase engagement. Pick 1 or 2 items that you want your team to focus on. For us it may be tires & alignments. We do a raffle that works like this:

  • Every tire sold earns the technician 1 ticket

  • Every alignment sold earns the technician 2 tickets

  • We've got a prize pool of a big-screen TV, an iPad & gift cards

  • We do a live-stream, randomly selecting the winners for each prize

To make sure the numbers work you could add a qualification that total sales or GP must be higher than last year by X%.

6. Shout-Out on Social Media

Give your employees a little bit of public recognition by posting their achievements on the company’s social media pages. This shows your customers the capability of your employees and highlights the successes that are happening in your company. If it’s a small team, you can also add their headshots with a short bio on the company website.


These ideas help fulfill the need for significance by providing a sense of positive validation and attention. A simple "thank you", a 1-1 sit down & goal-oriented financial rewards can do wonders to motivate employees by showing you appreciate the time, energy & effort they put worth to grow your business. If employing some of these practices would be too time consuming, consider hiring a virtual assistant to help you carry out your recognition program.

It's so hard to find and train talented people. As leaders if we don't show our employees recognition & appreciation, they will leave and seek it elsewhere.

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