One of the best presents I received this holiday season is “Letter For A Year of Gratitude.” Leaders know the value of appreciation. Appreciation is a moment when a person knows they have been seen and heard. Leaders acknowledge the specific contribution the person has made, and the person feels valued for their contribution. As the leader’s acknowledgment is specfic to the individual person and specific about what that person’s individual contribution, it conveys that the person is valued for who they are. Acknowledgements touch, move, and inspire.
Early 2018, I made it a habit to write a birthday greeting to every woman in my Facebook group; most are women whom I’ve knownnad admired for years, and these women have invited their women relatives and friends to join the group. They look like ordinary women but they are celebrities who make contributions to their families, students, patients, clients, and communities. Their birthdays are opportunities for me to celebrate them and share what they do for the whole group to celebrate. For the woman I only met through our virtual space, I take the time to look at her Facebook profile to see what’s she’s up to and how she makes the world a better place. I include a picture from her Facebook photos that captures her essence. The birthday greeting is personalized and I hope it lets her know she is seen and valued. I close each greeting inviting all of the other women in the group to comment with a birthday greeting celebrating our “Birthday Celebrity.” Every woman celebrated thus far has expressed gratitude, and many have driven hours to meet each other in person at events and gatherings.
It’s my hope that with “Letters For A Year of Gratitude” that I am able to create that sense of community and appreciation with my team and other professionals who support, inspire, and guide me. The kit has 52 tear out letters with prompts like “You made my day,” “Thanks for the great advice,” and “Let’s celebrate you by.” I look forward to this letter writing journey in 2019.
How about you? How will you as a leader acknowledge others and express your gratitude for their contributions?