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

Are you under-using any critical leadership behaviors? As leaders a lot is expected of us; we need to keep our skills sharp, our relationships strong, and we need to communicate effectively.

That’s just a starting point. We need to be accountable for all of our behaviors, we need to know what we’re doing well, we need to know which areas to develop, and we must acknowledge the accomplishments and contributions made by our direct reports (and colleagues too).

The old adage that people quit their boss and not their job is pretty accurate. We’ve previously shared that only 33% of employees are engaged at work – so what’s up with the 70%?

Research has found:
• 79% of employees say a major reason for quitting their job was due to lack of appreciation
• 65% of U.S. employees claim they received zero recognition in the past year
• Over half said they are more motivated by recognition/appreciation than money

Do these numbers surprise you and do they make you think about what, why, and how you show your appreciation?

We once worked with a leader that told us he expected everyone to go “above and beyond” and that as a result, there wasn’t anything exemplary to reward or show appreciation for. (No wonder his turnover rates were so high!)

Appreciation can be a simple thank-you or a financial bonus, and there’s a wide variety of things to recognize; here are but a few:
Accuracy/Customer Satisfaction
Financial Saves/Process Improvements
Driving Results/Inspiring Others
Positive Attitude/Collaborative
Top Performer/Goal Attainment

Whatever you do, make sure you’re authentic and provide the exact reason for the recognition. The recipient needs to clearly understand the praise, and they must know you’re sincere. This will help create a culture of engagement and positivity, reduce attrition, and lend itself to obtaining desired results.

Don’t neglect the power of appreciation; it’s definitely one leadership behavior not to under-use!

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. — William Arthur Ward