How Do You Show Appreciation?

Good leaders are appreciative of the people they lead. They learn to offer praise well.

However, I admit, I’m not naturally wired for this. I can be guilty of expecting too much from people. Plus, I don’t always feel the need to acknowledge “normal” work – especially when people are being paid to do it.

Yet, I know all of us enjoy hearing we did a good job. Some people are even fueled by it. So, I’ve learned offering praise is a necessary part of a leader’s job. Therefore, we should all do it whether we are wired to or not.

And there are ways to do it and be the most helpful and appreciated.

7 ways for a leader to offer praise:

Be specific

Tell the person in specific rather than general terms what he or she did well. Plus, make sure they know where they are excelling.

Be honest

Make it genuine. False praise is easily recognized and seldom appreciated.

Be intentional 

Some of us have to discipline this into our leadership. Yet, that’s okay. It’s worth it. Don’t assume the person receives enough praise. (For example, I try to observe and intentionally praise at least 2 or 3 people per week among staff and volunteers.)

Be timely

People shouldn’t have to wait long after doing a job well to receive praise for it. 

Be creative

Find unique ways to offer praise. Send a handwritten note. Give an extra day off. Even more, recognize them in front of others. Of course, don’t forget the personal, face-to-face approach. 

Be unique

Don’t say the same thing everyone else is saying or the same thing to every person. Find the thing or aspect to praise that no one else has noted.

Be helpful 

Offer praise which helps the person recognize strengths and encourages them in that area. This is where they will want and should continue to develop.

It does take intentionality to be an appreciative leader. Our staff would probably tell you I have much work to do. I would have to agree with them. But I do recognize the value and keep striving to improve.

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This article originally appeared on and is reposted here by permission.

Ron Edmondson
Ron Edmondson

Ron Edmondson is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. He revitalized two churches and planted two more.