Leadership is Calling Episode #57
Barbara Schindler & Heather McGonigal

Leading with Appreciation: How to Celebrate Your Team’s Wins

Do you ever underestimate the power of a simple “thank you”?

In this compelling story, Heather shares a powerful lesson learned from an unexpected source – a retail employee’s pure joy in being appreciated for her work. Witnessing her pride and the positive impact of sincere acknowledgment from her colleague, Heather was reminded of the profound effect that recognition can have on uplifting employees and fostering a positive workplace culture. Drawing from this real-life example, she shares with Barbara the importance of actively promoting a culture of appreciation, encouraging team members to share accomplishments, and acknowledging even small efforts to create a supportive, productive work environment.

Key Points
  • Appreciation and acknowledgment are crucial for motivating and engaging employees.
  • Even small acts of recognition can significantly boost morale and create a positive work culture.
  • Encouraging team members to share accomplishments and celebrate efforts fosters a supportive environment.
  • Leaders should actively model and promote a culture of appreciation within their organizations.
  • The importance of appreciation in the workplace and daily life.
  • How a seemingly insignificant act can have a positive impact.
Related Resources

Leadership Skills: The People Part
Leadership Development Articles: Business Cultures Thrive on Appreciation Appreciating Your Team
Downloadable Leadership Tool:  The 5-Day Appreciation Journal: A Culture of Caring

Appreciation - Thank You Cartoon - Leadership is Calling Podcast - Leading Edge Teams

Auto-Generated Transcript – unedited version

Leading with Appreciation: How to Celebrate Your Team’s Wins


Hi Heather!
Hi, how’s it going?
Good. I’m glad the sun is back out currently here in California. We’ve been having a lot of rain, so I can see that the sun is arriving, and that’s good.

Yeah, I wanted to tell you about an experience I had the other day. So first of all, you know this about me, and I find this is common for those of us that work remotely – sometimes when we’re working remotely, we could go a whole week without leaving our house. And so sometimes we have to invent ways to be social.

I know, last week, someone shared with me that they get a lot of value out of their grocery store time because it’s just like, “Oh, I’m out, people!” And so one of the places that I go is HomeGoods. If I’ve had like an amount of time and I’m too much at home and I haven’t gotten out enough, I’ll go to HomeGoods, and I’ll be like, “Okay, you have $20. You can buy yourself one thing you really like or two cheaper things.” And I walk around the whole store because, you know, HomeGoods is that type of store where there’s just like random – it has some organization, right? But there’s random stuff, and you never know what little treasures you might find. Or for me, it’ll be like a cute coffee mug, you know, for five bucks or something, right?

So anyway, I’m doing my usual little excursion to HomeGoods the other day because there was a break in the rain, and it was like in the evening. So it was relatively quiet there at HomeGoods. And I was in the dog area looking for some dog-related items, and I heard this woman in the other aisle. I had seen her – it was someone that worked at HomeGoods. I had passed the aisle, and it was an aisle of like organizational tools like your kitchen for organizing your kitchen, and she was working in there. And then I was in the next aisle looking at the dog things, and I heard her call her team member over, and she just said, “Hey, come here. Can I show you this? I just – I just accomplished this, and it’ll only be like this for like a minute, right? But I want somebody to see what I accomplished.” And so he came, and I heard him be like, “Oh yeah, wow.” And she’s like, “Yeah, and so they can really see what everything is, and you know, they can see what’s here.” And he was like, “Yeah, that’s really great, like a great job.”

And it was just like, for me, it was such a sweet moment, and just I was so proud of that woman, that team member, for being like, “Hey, let me show you what I just accomplished so that I can share this moment and this accomplishment with someone.” And I was really proud of her team member, who I think was her supervisor, who was like, “Yeah, wow, that’s really fantastic. You did a really great job,” right?

It just made me think about how, you know, I know here at Leading Edge Teams, we teach that the number one culture builder is appreciation, and we have a whole formula for helping people do appreciation in a good way that lets people feel really seen. But like, this was that out in the wild or something, like out in the real world. This was a great example about how appreciation, like, fills people up, it lifts them up, it fills them up. And you know, this woman had like a huge smile on her face and a bounce in her step when she then walked past me, and she was going on her break.

I also love that she brought that on herself, like she was appreciating her own work. And we all can identify that, you know, it’s those kinds of tasks that we do that like we actually can complete something and have this experience of accomplishment because a lot of other things we do are, you know, pass the ball or they go on for things, and you don’t get that like complete moment. And I’m just having a moment of compassion for somebody working in that kind of store, yeah. My mom’s career was, you know, in those kinds of department store things, and I was just like, you know, in about five minutes, that’s gonna be messed up, right? Oh, so I love that she’s also, you know, wise enough to capture that moment, share that moment, and yeah, for her, whether it was her peer colleague or supervisor, to allow that space of appreciation and moment.

Yeah, that’s good. Fun aspect or take away from it too that I didn’t grab on to, but I also love the idea of maybe that story as an encouragement to team members and leaders to, you know, make known their accomplishment and confidently get asked for that appreciation. Or you know, I think of, you know, some other members of my team, like Tamy – she does the marketing production stuff. She’s into different software things there. Maybe there’s stuff that she does that like, you know, maybe I don’t even know how to do that. I don’t really know what it takes to do that. But if she showed it to me and was like, “Look, I built this whole thing out in the project management software for you,” and like, “It’s like that’s beautiful, and that was huge for you to do, like thank you very much.” And so I love the idea of noticing that we can do that for ourselves.

We can, and you know what else comes to mind is, you know, in one of our toolbox teachings is about delegation, and one of the final steps of that is, “Let me know when it’s done.” And part of that reason is so we can appreciate one, that’s a great example of actually having that experience of completion, but then also appreciating, you know, having it completed or the person who completed it. So part of that delegation script is to fill this as well because it is an important part for leadership and working together on a team. So I love this story.

Yeah, and I love – thanks for sharing it. Yeah, I love the reminder for that’s why it’s also built to the delegation script because appreciation is what and acknowledgment is what really moves the needle for having your team invested in what they’re doing inside of your organization. And it’s always available to keep refilling that well of positive energy, good experience working somewhere.

And what I also loved about just this Home Depot experience, to take it even outside of the realm of business and what we do here, it’s like to me, it was a simple example of like, we could all do that for one another, you know? If the supervisor and her weren’t having that conversation, I could have said, “Oh my gosh, wow, this is beautiful, right? Who organized this aisle? It looks awesome. I love shopping here,” right? We need more positivity, and we need more connection in our world.

So I thought I just also wanted to share that story to encourage notice for myself and share with others like, “Hey, let’s go up out there and spread the love by acknowledging and appreciating people’s efforts,” like you know, because we interact with people doing their jobs all day every day, and they all have aspects of their job that are a bit tedious. They all have things they do that are beautiful, you know? And do we notice? And if we notice, like, I think we can move the needle in a lot of positive ways.

So yeah, awesome, I wanted to share that story.


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