It’s often not the leader that makes a team great, but the team itself. When you look at a successful leader just about anywhere in the world you will most definitely see a team of supporting people not far behind them. What we do day in and day out as we build great ministries to reach people and draw them closer to Christ wouldn’t be possible without the great staff and volunteer leaders that God has entrusted us with. As leaders, we are given the great honor of providing vision, direction and support to our team. It is one of our greatest responsibilities, and should never be taken lightly.
Human beings are born with a need to be appreciated. We need to know that the service we provide is meeting a valuable need in society. Above that, we need to be seen not just for what we do, but who we are. A person is defined by their virtues. Their virtues are defined by their actions. When we offer gratitude to those who serve on our teams we need to be intentional about seeing past the tasks they do, and let them know that we see who they are.
This takes our efforts of appreciation beyond a simple “thanks” or a card on their birthday. We need to take extra effort to become students of the lives and personalities of our team members. What gives them joy? What is happening in their families? What is happening in their workplace? When we know some of these things, we can truly appreciate our team members well.
When you appreciate people, consider adopting the concept of a complete appreciation. A complete appreciation goes beyond seeing a service a person provides and drills down into the nature of who they are on the inside. It only takes slightly more effort and time. As you practice appreciating people this way, you will see great results in the overall mood and morale of the team as a whole. You may even get lucky and develop that culture of appreciation you so desperately want to have!
What does a complete appreciation look like? It’s simple really. A complete appreciation identifies who a person is, and gives proof of who they are based off of the things they do.
Here is an example of what a complete appreciation is not:
“Thanks so much for being here on time every week. I really appreciate it.”
Overall, this is a good thing to compliment someone on. You are noticing something good that they do, and you’re taking time to point it out. On the other hand, it tells a person that you really only see them for their actions, for what they are providing.
Here is the same compliment offered as a complete appreciation:
“Hey, I wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your consistency and dedication to what we are doing here. You are always here on time and have that contagious smile. I wanted you to know that you are really doing something of value here and everyone sees it. Thank you SO much!”
Do you see how those are different? The first compliment simply points out a good behavior, while the second version of the same compliment drills into the character of the person and reminds them that they are making a difference in regard to the mission.
People serve because they want to do a good job. Go the extra step to appreciate your team in the fullest way possible!