Let people know your appreciation for the qualities that they possess. Being acknowledged for a task well done is important, being acknowledged for a character quality is lasting. 

Two of the most powerful tools a leader has to engage their team or work force is taking accountability and cleaning up their unintended impacts on others (fundamental #23) along with appreciating and acknowledging their staff.

If you’re paying attention, you will be doing both on a daily basis. In organizations, when people are recognized, it’s usually for something they did or some result produced. I would suggest there is much more power in looking beyond the action and acknowledging the quality or character within the person that drove the result.

An example, “Andrea, that was an excellent summary you gave us. I appreciate your ability to focus on the critical elements of any situation and hone in on what’s really important.” When people get recognized for the particular qualities they possess, in addition to being acknowledged, they feel appreciated, connected and are motivated to be even more that way.

As a leader, you are letting people know that you are paying attention, that you notice them. Ultimately, this will lead to a much higher level of engagement. Psychology Today writes, “Research indicates gratitude is the most essential and powerful element of well-being.”

Here is a test for you:  The next time you feel unappreciated, a bit down or just in a funk, go authentically acknowledge three people for the qualities and characters you appreciate about each of them. When you do this notice the difference it makes for them and for yourself.

Craig Clark
Founder and CEO,
Momentum Consulting, Inc