5 Gifts Every Leader Should Give the Team

Two people exchanging gifts, close-up of hands
Two people exchanging gifts, close-up of hands

I noticed this week that some retail outlets have already set out their Christmas gear. I suppose it's never too early to shop for gifts for family, friends, and coworkers for Christmas right? But holidays don't have to be the only time we give, share, and shower others with appreciation. Leaders should always be looking for meaningful ways to give back to the team. Below are five gifts any leader can and should share all year long:

The Gift of Trust: It is absolutely more than ok and necessary to be detail-oriented, but no one likes to be micromanaged. The leader who micromanages simply does not trust individuals on the team to do the job they were hired to do. When leaders let team members use their gifts, they quickly realize each individual team member's value and contribution. When the team senses their leader's trust they're more likely to give a 110%. That sort of commitment frees up the leader to focus on the overall mission and the other gifts listed below.

Gifts of Tools, Training, & Resources: There's nothing more frustrating than willingness without resources. A leader is responsible for equipping the team with all the necessary tools and resources to perform effectively. Most jobs require us to keep current in our knowledge and area of expertise. Staying current, creative, or qualified can cost time and money but if we don't provide for the team, their passion and creativity may wane. Professional development, training, and resources can seem costly, but consider the cost if you don't invest in your team. If they're hungry for information or ideas, feed them! Regular and systematic professional development is critical. Professional development comes in many formats and in a wide degree of varying costs. Some trainings, seminars, educational courses, or additional certifications are actually free. And it may or may not be necessary to travel for training. Many programs offer quality online training. Leaders might also consider bringing in special speakers or consultants. A quality team mentoring program can be developed with little or no money. Providing necessary resources allows the team to feel valued, validated and competent. Leaders equip the team and encourages growth. As the team grows, profits and results may increase as well.

The Gift of Recognition: Everyone likes to feel appreciated. In fact, everyone needs to feel appreciated. Bear in mind that goals are not magically met. When the mission is accomplished producing positive results regularly, it is typically due to the expertise and commitment of the team as a whole. There is much to be said for consistency and productivity, but the most important thing to say is, "Thank you. You can say "thank you" in a variety of ways. Create a recognition program, develop incentives that keep the team happy in competitive ways, plan a fun team outing or event, just remember the best way to say thank you is to say it, and say it often.

The Gift of Presence: Effective leaders stay busy and productive. They know that time is indeed of the essence. It is sometimes easy however to forget that the team needs your time as well. An effective team sometimes resembles a family, and just as in any family, each member needs time with their leader. Time with team members keeps the leader in the loop. Time with team members reveals the needs and concerns of team members. You may have heard that absence makes the heart grow fonder but when it comes to a team, the absence of a leaders sows suspicion, and resentment, and leads to overall dysfunction. The physical presence of the leader is crucial. Time with team members is also critical. Just be mindful of favoritism and perceptions of others and make the effort to spend quality time. Building personal relationships on the team is not a luxury, it's a necessity for any effective and lasting team. If you want the team to work like a well-oiled machine. Oil it with your presence.

The Gift of Honest, Constructive Feedback: Leaders who talk are a dime a dozen, but leaders who actually listen before offering genuine feedback are rare and priceless pearls. Teams value and appreciate a leader who shoots straight. Wise leaders listen and learn from the team and they speak truth in professional and constructive ways, but nevertheless they speak truth.