Simple Strategies You Can Use to Affirm Your Team

I believe every person has a core need to be appreciated. When we are appreciated for who we are or for the contribution we have made, it boosts our self-esteem, increases our morale, and makes us feel like a valued part of the team.

However, many leaders are not very good at saying thanks. That could be because we tend to be highly focused, goal-oriented achievers. Once we have completed a project, we quickly move on to the next big thing.

That can leave team members to conclude that their contributions are not valued but merely expected. Everyone needs to hear these two magic words: thank you. They are incredibly powerful, especially when they are heartfelt and sincere.

If you struggle to express affirmation, here are 20 simple ideas you can use to affirm your team members. Try this, and see how it brightens your work environment.

  1. Send a handwritten note that says, “I’m glad you’re part of the team!”
  2. Remember birthdays and anniversaries with a card or greeting.
  3. Give a mini-perk, like free tickets to the zoo, free car wash coupons, or a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant.
  4. Meet for lunch (on you) and ask, “How can I support your work?”
  5. “Sandwich” corrective comments between two compliments.
  6. Make a one-to-one contact by phone or in person at least once a month.
  7. In the presence of other team members, say, “Thanks for the great job on this project.”
  8. Thank staff members for doing things that are part of their job description.
  9. Highlight significant achievements at every staff meeting.
  10. Give a staff member a day off after completing a big project.
  11. Treat the team to lunch once in a while.
  12. Praise your team members to your superiors—and let them know about it.
  13. Give regular performance evaluations and use them as opportunities to offer affirmation.
  14. Ask a staff member for an opinion on something that’s not in his or her area of responsibility.
  15. Inquire about staff members’ family life and health.
  16. Send an email that says, “I respect your skills.”
  17. Use your annual report to celebrate team successes, not merely report numbers.
  18. Ask, “How can I pray for you this week?” and then be faithful to pray about the needs.
  19. Throw a party for staff and spouses to celebrate the achievement of yearlong goals.
  20. In a one-on-one setting, say “Your contribution has eternal value because . . .”

What is your favorite way to affirm team members? Share your answer on Twitter or Facebook!