To some this may be a surprise, others not at all, but I grew up loving and performing on the stage. I performed in summer musical theater programs, church theater programs, sang in several choirs, and played numerous instruments. While my performances look a little different in adulthood, my skill to randomly turn a mundane chore into a song and dance number still exists. But these days when I take my bow after my musical number while vacuuming or unloading the dishes, instead of being met with a hug, a job well done or appreciation for my talents and skills, I am heckled by my two-year-old daughter, Maudie. And though it can sting, I feel her appreciation when she offers me a high five or a hug for my superb chocolate milk making.

You’ve heard the phrase “Show them some love” when an act leaves the stage, but I wonder how often “show them some love” crosses our minds as leaders when demonstrating our appreciation to colleagues and team members for a job well done. It can be especially hard to remember to show our appreciation and gratitude when we have mounds of work to get through with no end in sight. However, based on a Glassdoor Employee Appreciation survey, 83% of employees will work harder when their leaders show appreciation and 53% are likely to stay longer if they felt more appreciation.

Demonstrating your appreciation can’t be overlooked when nearly everyone has the “We’re hiring” sign on their LinkedIn page. So, in honor of Valentine’s Day and Employee Appreciation Day (March 4th – mark it on your calendar!), I’ve gathered five ideas to help you show your team some love today, during busy season, and throughout the year.

1) Hand-written notes

Schedule yourself for 5-10 minutes each week to write a hand-written, personalized note to a couple of your team members. Make the note thoughtful – perhaps they took some time to help a colleague, they got out of their comfort zone, or you just noticed how they “show up” with a positive attitude every day. Big or small, call it out in a personalized note.  Bonus points if you send it to them in the mail!

2) An on-the-fly “Thank You”

The smallest thanks is always worth more than the effort it takes to give it.”

- Unknown

Now when I say, “An on-the-fly ‘Thank You’” I am not referring to the typical “Thank you!” or “Thanks!” at the end of an email or phone call. Instead, expand on what you are thanking them for and how it impacted you in a positive way. For example, “Thank you for jumping in on that email and taking care of <insert client> by answering their questions. It was one less thing for me to worry about and it was much appreciated!” Remember, saying a heartfelt “Thank you” costs zero dollars but can greatly impact someone’s mood, outlook, or whether they feel appreciated.

3) Give them more responsibility

In August of 2021, Jennifer Wilson wrote a blog titled, “Give It All Away.” She shared how she learned a lesson over and over in her career about delegating and not over-owning to avoid the feeling of being “stuck under a mountain of responsibility without relief.” I encourage you to read Jennifer’s blog in full about why giving more responsibility is a good thing for you AND your team. Pay special attention to where she says, “Bright team members might enjoy working with you more, because they feel that you trust them and believe in them.

4) Downtime and respect it!

We are more connected due to technology like smart phones than ever before. While being accessible comes with its benefits, it also can give team members the feeling that they are “always working.” When your team members are off work or on a vacation, encourage them to stay off of their email. Be sure you are also modeling this behavior by not replying to emails while you are on vacation. Respect the downtime and realize it is essential so you can return to work refreshed and more productive!

5) Fun

Invite your team to participate in something fun – even during the busiest time of the year. That might seem overwhelming, and I am sure many are saying “we don’t have time for that.” But you do have time and it will pay off because:

  • “Laughter is the best medicine!” According to the Mayo Clinic, it can relieve stress and tension, improve your mood, and increase personal satisfaction.
  • It brings people together over a shared event
  • More fun equals more productivity one study reported in Forbes.

Need an idea for a quick fun activity? Try 10-15 minutes of Minute It to Win It games. Many of the games can easily translate to a remote environment, take little to no supplies, and are a great way to get people laughing!

I hope this list helps you to generate more ways to show your team some love for their skills, talents, and hard work in the upcoming busy season and beyond. Just remember, a little appreciation can go a long way and can help motivate your team members when they face a mountain of work, or the sting of being heckled by their two-year-old.


Until next time,