20 Ways to Thank Your Team

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of cultivating an attitude of gratitude. One round-up of ten recent studies of the effects of expressing gratitude produced a long list of benefits, including better sleep, lower blood pressure, lower depression and feeling more satisfied with life.

Reviewing the list, it occurred to me that expressing gratitude to your team is a simple but effective way to be a better manager. There are lots of different techniques you could use to improve team engagement, job satisfaction, trust, commitment, and business results, but many of them require a lot of focus and effort. Showing gratitude to your team has got to be one of the simplest (and most fun) ways to accomplish all of those outcomes. So if you want to build a stronger team, thank them for something they’ve done well.

In a recent group coaching session we discussed the benefits of celebrating a team’s achievements. I asked participants to share their favorite ways to recognize group successes that don’t require a lot of money or time. If you’ve fallen into a rut with team recognition, or if you’ve been neglecting it entirely, or if you’re simply looking for new ideas that won’t bust your budget, here are 20 suggestions they shared.

Personal notes

• A hand-written thank-you note or letter

• A handwritten card identifying specifically what the person contributed

Informing leadership

• An email to each team-member’s leaders

• A congratulatory email to upper management noting the team players and their success, cc’d to the team

• Invite a key leader to come to a meeting and thank the team

Peer recognition

• Send out an email to the broader team recognizing their efforts

• Share news of the team’s success at an all-hands meeting

• Take a moment to allow each team member to talk about their success

• Team members submit notes of recognition to be read at a monthly department meeting

• Quarterly recap meeting followed by happy hour as a team

Food and drink

• Happy hour

• Take the team out for lunch

• Bring in food such as bagels in the morning or cupcakes after lunch

Awards

• An award for “associate of the quarter”

• Award plaques that team members can place on their desk or in their cube

• A travelling trophy that is awarded to a different team member each month

Miscellaneous rewards

• Small gifts, like a t-shirt or coffee mug with the name of the project, product or team

• Take a day out to volunteer as a team in the community

• Let the team leave early for the day

• Know what each individual appreciates, and appreciate them in that way. For some it is happy hour. Others appreciate being recognized publicly.

So build more gratitude into your work day and work week by celebrating successes, thanking your people, recognizing their contributions, and building a culture of gratitude. It’s the most underrated way to become a better manager and build a high-performing team.

What’s your favorite way to thank your team?

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Jo Miller

A leading authority on women’s leadership, Jo Miller is a sought-after, dynamic, and engaging speaker, delivering more than 70 speaking presentations annually to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Her expertise lies in helping women lead, climb, and thrive in their corporate careers. Jo has traveled widely in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and teach workshops for women’s leadership conferences, women’s professional associations, and Fortune 1000 corporate women’s initiatives. Jo is CEO of leadership development, consulting and research firm Be Leaderly. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.net and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

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