Let me start with a confession: I am a task-oriented person. I make lists. When I finish a task on my list, it’s time to move on to the next task. This works beautifully for me in my own little world. However, as a leader it can be detrimental to the people and organization whom I serve.
The individuals who serve alongside me to help bring events, programs and initiatives to life have made sacrifices. They have given of their time, talents and treasures to make things happen well. When I do not take the time to properly celebrate them and their contributions, I actually devalue their hard work.
I don’t mean to devalue anyone. In my heart I am grateful. But they can’t see my heart. So, how can I make sure to honor those who serve with me?
1. Make it personal. Take the time to personally thank or acknowledge the person(s) who worked hard to bring things to life. Always prefer the most direct form of contact … phone calls over texts and handwritten notes over emails. It may seem a little “old school,” but in today’s culture these types of communication speak loudest.
2. Explain how their contributions help to move the mission of the organization forward. Identify the specific way that the individual or group moved the needle for the organization. This validates their efforts and sacrifices. Everyone wants to be on a winning team.
3. Add value to their life. Acknowledge. Appreciate. Recognize. These all add value because at their core they address the individual. If you are going to host an appreciation event (dinner, banquet), celebrate with stories not trinkets. Stories communicate the mission & vision of the organization in real life. Trinkets do not.
Valuing those who serve is necessary and it is fun. Whatever gets celebrated gets repeated.