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Gratitude from Leadership

The importance of leaders setting an example of gratitude

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In my workplace, gratitude is often expressed by our highest-level leaders. Many junior level staff do the heavy day-to-day lifting, interface with our customers, and deliver our work. However, the leaders often get the recognition of selling the work to our customers and our overall success. 

As it is realized that junior staff often look to leaders to set examples in the workplace, whether it is from how they lead and develop their teams, to appreciating the hard work that is put in by their teams, my company has implemented a formal process for expressing gratitude for junior staff members in the form of cash awards, or "applause awards". This is a formal submission from the manager level to the partner level to submit formal feedback and a statement of appreciation/recognition for their team member's contributions and hard work. It is then approved, and the recognition statement along with the cash award is delivered straight to the team member's inbox. 

As a former junior staff member of my firm, I know how important it was for me to receive this expression of gratitude from my leadership, especially during some of the most challenging and difficult times on my projects. It is refreshing to realize that leadership to value your contributions, and more importantly, recognize it openly. It also helped incentivize me to keep pushing hard and deliver the best work I could. 

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

How might leaders and managers work to incentivize and motivate young people in the workplace through recognition and gratitude? Making your team feel good and openly recognizing their hard work goes a long way. Understanding how to do that is critical for setting a culture of gratitude and openness, and providing an example of what a good leader should be.

Tell us about yourself

I am a product manager at a large professional services firm, as well as an Executive Director of a volunteer-run nonprofit organization. In my experience and from talking to coworkers and team members, it is very apparent that individuals are motivated and inspired by recognition and rewards.


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