Leadership Essentials: Navigating Stress and Prioritizing Appreciation

In a recent LinkedIn poll I asked “What do you believe is the primary obstacle preventing leaders from expressing appreciation and showing recognition.” It is no surprise to me that Stress and Busyness was the number one obstacle.

In the fast-paced world of leadership, stress and busyness often become constant companions. However, amidst these challenges, true leaders find ways to rise above, fostering a culture of appreciation within their teams. As one person commented on the post, “I don’t think most ’leaders’ realize that appreciation and recognition are part of the leading equation.” If you want to bring out the best in others, expressing your appreciation and showing recognition is a critical tool in the leader’s toolbox.  

Unrealistic expectations
Stress and busyness
Organizational culture
Fear of vulnerability

If Stress and Busyness is an obstacle to you showing appreciation and recognition to others, here’s a roadmap to help you make this process a part of your “leadership equation.”

1. Self-Reflection and Mindfulness

Begin by reflecting on your own stress triggers and embrace mindfulness. By understanding your own reactions to stress, you can cultivate resilience and lead with a calmer, more appreciative mindset.

2. Effective Time Management

A lot of stress is self-induced because of our inefficient use of time. Put reminders on your schedule and build appreciation and recognition into your normal daily/weekly processes.

3. Open Communication Channels

Build transparent communication channels to understand your team's challenges and successes. Regular check-ins create a supportive environment where team members feel valued and heard.

4. Recognition Programs

Implement recognition programs to celebrate achievements, both big and small. Publicly acknowledge individual and team accomplishments to foster a culture of appreciation and motivation.

5. Lead by Example

Demonstrate gratitude through your own actions. A leader who expresses appreciation sets a powerful precedent, encouraging the entire team to follow suit.

6. Encourage Peer Appreciation

Foster a collaborative atmosphere where team members appreciate each other's contributions. This not only strengthens bonds and teamwork within the team, but also reduces the burden on leaders to be the sole source of recognition.

7. Flexible Work Environment

Recognize the importance of work-life balance. A flexible work environment that respects personal time promotes wellbeing, reducing stress for both leaders and team members. Allowing for that flexibility also helps the team member feel valued and heard.

8. Professional Development Opportunities

Show appreciation by investing in your team's growth. Provide opportunities for skill development and career advancement, demonstrating your commitment to their long-term success.

9. Celebrate Milestones

Take the time to acknowledge work anniversaries, project completions, and other milestones. Small celebrations contribute to a positive work culture and strengthen the team's sense of achievement.

10. Gratitude Rituals

Incorporate gratitude rituals into your leadership style, such as regular team meetings dedicated to expressing thanks. This creates a space for positive reflection and reinforces a culture of appreciation.

By navigating stress mindfully and prioritizing gratitude, leaders can build resilient, high-performing teams that thrive in a supportive work environment. Remember, genuine appreciation is a powerful tool that not only enhances team morale but also propels the entire organization towards sustained success.

Coaching Challenge

  1. Pick one strategy you believe you can make progress on in the month of December.

  2. Define what success looks like and brainstorm all the ways you can aim your CliftonStrengths to take action and achieve success on this goal.

  3. Now define the payoff (or the benefit) for you and your team when you accomplish this goal?

  4. Ready to get started? Do you want some additional accountability? If so, feel free to email me your plan and I will check in on your progress next month!

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