The Secret to Leadership Transformation: Appreciation – Backed By Data

by | Jun 16, 2023 | Communication, Getting Results, Leadership, Management, Treat People with Respect

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During an evening heart-to-heart with my son, Jack, I was reminded again of the power of appreciation. His animated storytelling is always a delight, and I couldn’t help but notice how he lit up every time I complimented his colorful narration. This simple interaction reminded me that appreciation, a seemingly humble tool, can reshape leadership dynamics.

You might ask, “Is that it? Appreciation?”

Absolutely. Although deceptively simple, showing more appreciation can significantly transform your leadership and your team’s engagement.

Personal connections are frequently buried under electronic exchanges in our hyper-connected digital age. Genuine tokens of appreciation are elusive. A study by Hubspot disclosed that 69% of participants would exert greater effort if their workplaces better acknowledged their contributions. Similarly, Gallup reports that businesses with high levels of employee recognition witness a 31% reduction in voluntary turnover. If these statistics don’t stimulate introspection in leaders, it’s hard to say what will.

Think back to a moment when someone sincerely thanked you—it could be a coworker grateful for your support during a difficult time or your spouse noticing your routine efforts. You likely felt acknowledged, valued, and perhaps more inclined to contribute further. That’s the potential energy we need to tap into for our workplaces.

Take this feeling back to the workplace. Your employees and colleagues will feel the same when you genuinely recognize their efforts. Think of the positive impact this will have on your team and company. The magic lies in its simplicity—you don’t have to devise complicated plans or extensively modify your leadership style. Instead, make a conscious shift towards authentic, mindful appreciation.

Begin with something like this: “Thank you! Your approach drove this project forward.” Or, “I appreciate how you addressed that customer issue—your patience and professionalism were commendable.” Specificity is paramount—it shows you truly pay attention to their effort and actions.

This isn’t about grandiose displays or empty flattery; it’s about genuine, consistent recognition. To cement it as a habit, consider setting daily reminders or weave it into your routine. Strive to convey meaningful appreciation to several team members each day.

It might appear incredibly straightforward—because it is. However, don’t let its simplicity mislead you. Try this minor adjustment for a week and notice how it rejuvenates your team’s engagement and reshapes your leadership approach. It’s a minimal investment for a substantial return in team morale, motivation, and productivity. For instance, Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report suggests that teams ranking in the top 20% in engagement saw a 41% decrease in absenteeism and 59% less turnover.

Often, appreciation is sidelined as a ‘nice-to-have’—pleasant but nonessential. I challenge that perspective. It’s a potent tool, and once you learn to wield it effectively, you’ll usher in a new era of leadership, starting from this moment. So, dare to appreciate. Observe the transformation unfold.

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