Recognizing the Leaders on Your Team

by Allan Peretz

The job of a leader can be very lonely - here are some simple appreciation ideas to ensure your team's leaders feel appreciated.

It's unfortunate, but sometimes the people carrying the heaviest load for your organization are forgotten. They seem so self-reliant and, because of this, their managers have "stepped out of the way" to "give them some space." Very progressive, right?

Well... Maybe not. According to a UK survey by The Telegraph, 51% of middle managers feel "constantly worried" by the problems they deal with in their jobs. Your junior and middle managers may all seem solid, but on the inside they're likely dealing with a lot... and it's your job to help them!

So how do you recognize leaders? Here are some employee appreciation ideas that may help...

Drop in to let them know:

Believe it or not, a quick and impromptu face-to-face meeting to share your thanks can have an incredible impact on a leader's motivation. Let them know how much you appreciate their work and consider using phrases that signal what their contribution meant. Phrases like  "you really stepped up," for example, will signal that the employee's performance allowed you to see them in a new light.

Ask them for help or advice:

Surprisingly, one of the best employee appreciation ideas for a leader on your team is to ask them for more help. A leader will be highly flattered when their boss asks for advice on a tough problem. Don't be disingenuous with this by creating false problems - instead consider "opening up" with this trusted employee and further leveraging the judgement they clearly demonstrated.

Give them more responsibility:

Again, while it may not be the right thing for staff, the true leaders in your organization are usually looking for ways to show that they can do more. This doesn't mean that they want to be "loaded down" with extra work, but instead that they want bigger clients, bigger projects, and meatier challenges with which to prove themselves.

When one of the leaders has really proven themselves, consider how you might evolve their role. Make sure you also give them needed support - the right staff, coaching, and resources - so that they can continue to succeed.

Deliver a small gift or card:

While the deserving leader would likely be embarrassed by a trophy or a plaque, a small gift or card left discretely at their desk will show your appreciation in a tangible way. 

Let senior management know:

Your leaders crave "visibility" - they understand that it opens doors and provides additional security as they negotiate their careers. When one of your leaders has really distinguished themselves, send a note up to the CEO or other relevant senior leadership. You might even ask that executive to personally thank your team member for a job well done.

No matter how you do it, make sure you do appreciate your team's leaders. They are your "impact players" and are likely the most difficult to replace.

Do you have other employee appreciation ideas for employees in leadership? We'd love to hear them!