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Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

How to Maintain Respect and Authority While Still Showing Appreciation to Your Team

By Leadership Resources 12/26/2021
Person appreciating their employee

Employee recognition matters, both in terms of retention and productivity. According to a recent Glassdoor survey, approximately 53% of respondents claimed they’d be more likely to stick with a company for the long haul if they genuinely felt appreciated by their managers — 81% stated they were more motivated when their hard work was regularly recognized. If you want to establish a durable, driven company culture, then you need to let your people know that they’re doing a good job. Of course, delivering positive sentiment for its own sake won’t yield the result you’re looking for either. The recognition you deliver must be earned or else the weight of said recognition will diminish. Moreover, you risk losing the respect and trust of your team and colleagues if your praise rings hollow.

Here’s how to maintain respect and authority while still showing plenty of appreciation to your team.

How to Appreciate Your Team Respectfully

Uphold Strong Communication Always

Some people still associate authority with a sort of reservedness, wherein the person in power is behind the scenes, rarely speaking to others outside of a close circle. However, making an effort to speak directly with team members is vital in building mutual respect and showing appreciation. Indeed, your team is bound to respect your authority much more if you’re regularly in the room with them, listening to their thoughts and concerns and playing a role in day-to-day decisions. By honing your leadership communication skills, you can remain well aware of what each team member is doing so you can highlight outstanding performance when you see it — and since your face will be well-known, your employees will believe your kind words when you convey them.

Set Clear Expectations

Good team management relies on coherent ground rules. Some of your employees will simply want to get their work done while others will actively try to go above and beyond. In either case, you need to set clear expectations so every team member knows what they should be doing, how they should behave, and whether or not their actions are worthy of distinct appreciation. When everyone is on the same page in this way, they can better direct their efforts and earn your recognition on a regular basis.

Manage Individual and Team Performance

In order for your praise to be consistently well-founded, you must keep close tabs on your team’s performance. As part of your expectation-setting, you should lay out key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you and your employees maintain a clear grasp on which metrics matter and why. Some common KPIs include sales targets and changes over time, customer retention rate, amount of time it takes to accomplish certain repeated tasks, etc. It’s crucial that these employee KPIs are measurable, realistic, specific, and understood. Performance management using KPIs and other methods will allow you to point to tangible data that reveals exceptional effort, distinct accomplishments, and other benchmarks worthy of applause.

Find Fresh Ways to Deliver Praise

If you’re still not sure of how to best manage your team and express your appreciation in a genuine way, do your best not to fall into stagnation — recognition is always more potent when it’s delivered in unexpected, novel ways. Employees who regularly go above and beyond deserve more than just another shout-out — it might be time to give them a meaningful reward (which in turn may encourage others to follow said employee’s example). Also, avoid concise, rote appreciation, instead taking the time to cater your praise in such a way that emphasizes an individual’s efforts. Timing and context can make a difference, too — will you recognize someone in the presence of their team or recognize their work one-on-one? There’s no single way to show your team appreciation, so mix up your delivery and wording to make the biggest impact each time.

Recognition with Respect

As a leader, you must strike a balance between expressing appreciation to your team and maintaining your authority so your people continue to feel motivated to do their best work. Pursuing ongoing leadership communication training is one of the best ways to achieve this balance. The better you are at communicating with your team, the stronger your culture will become — making sure your people feel sincerely appreciated is a major part of this equation.


At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Having Tough Conversations with Dignity

By Leadership Resources 04/11/2019
Leadership Resources two men having a hard conversation

Your people are your greatest assets, but they’re also human beings with various ambitions, views, and flaws. If you’re in charge of a team, you have to focus much of your energy on communication and performance management. Proper communication with each individual and the team as a whole will help keep everyone on track and mitigate any growing issues or concerns.

This is easier said than done, of course. When something goes wrong, a tough conversation may be in order. And if you’re the team leader, the impetus is on you to conduct these tough conversations with dignity while still addressing the issues at hand. Let’s explore some of the ways you can navigate these interactions while also preventing them from devolving into finger-pointing or talking around the problem.

How to Have Challenging Conversations Well

Keep it Private

When a problem arises in your company, it may affect your whole team. Or, your team might have triggered the problem in the first place. Whatever the case, resist the urge to address your team as a whole right away. It’s often better to speak with individuals one-on-one to better understand the issue before bringing it up at large. If the problem seems to stem from a single person, you’ll want to begin by speaking with that person first, of course.

Private discussions are free from distractions and eliminate the potential to lean on or blame anyone else. This gives you the opportunity to better understand where the other party is coming from. Holding conversations in private can also help the other party feel more comfortable, as they won’t feel singled out in front of the rest of the team.

Be as Clear and Honest as Possible

Good leadership communication is all about clarity. The more transparent you are, the better the conversation will go. What does this transparency look like in action? It means addressing the issue head-on, clearly explaining why it matters, and genuinely expressing your desire to make things better as a team. The more sincerity you show, the more sincerity you’ll receive. A workplace culture built on this trust is bound to be more successful.

Don’t Make it Personal

Just because you’re speaking with a staff member one-on-one doesn’t mean the conversation has to get personal. Instead, the talk should focus on the problem itself. Even if the individual contributed to the problem in question, merely placing blame is not an effective way to course-correct. You should try to uncover the full context of the issue and discuss ways to make future improvements. We all make mistakes, and sometimes underlying circumstances play a part. If you’re not willing to dig deeper into all relevant factors, the same mistakes will rear their heads again.

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Let the Other Party Speak

Tough conversations cannot be one-sided. Yes, you’re the one initiating the discussion, but you must also let the other party speak and ask questions if anything is to get fixed. Be sure to ask them questions as well. If you don’t open a dialogue you won’t know how to manage your team effectively in the future. Of course, the individual might start placing blame on others, avoiding the problem, or responding emotionally. If this occurs, continue listening, but try to bring the conversation back to the issue, not the person.

Forge a Path Forward Together

The goal of any tough conversation is to amend a problem, making things better moving forward. This can only be done through team effort. Make sure that you end every difficult discussion with a purpose. Work with the individual to create strategies and solutions that will benefit them, the team, and the company. Dignity requires autonomy and self-respect, so you should empower your employees to do better in the future, helping them along the way with mindful team management.

Tough conversations are by definition never easy. They can, however, be productive and cathartic, as long as they’re conducted with dignity. With proper leadership communication training, you can get better at having these conversations. The better you get at this, the stronger your team and your business will be. Leadership Resources offers courses and resources for improving your communication and team management skills.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.

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