There aren't many managers that say being a leader is simple. It makes a lot of sense because there are so many important things they are responsible for.
It starts with building great relationships, connecting their team to a deep purpose, having a vision, setting clear standards, holding others accountable, and being a strong coach just to name a few.
Even though leadership isn't easy, managers often make it more complicated than it needs to be. In a recent book, Trillion Dollar Coach about Bill Campbell a famous Silicon Valley Executive and former Apple Board Members, coauthor Eric Schmidt wrote this lesson he learned from Campbell:
"Everyone is human and wants to feel appreciated. It's not always for the money it's about the love."
Sometimes leadership can be this simple. One of the best ways to show your people they are appreciated is through your words.
Here are some things your team needs to hear from you to make it a reality:
1. "Thank you."
The simplest thing you can do is say "thank you." Often "thank you" has become something we say as a reflex. Make yours specific to team members who meet the standards set to be a part of the team and it will be that much more powerful.
It can be done in a variety of ways such as a handwritten note, in person or even over text. The thought you put into your "thank you" will say more than the two words alone.
2. "I appreciate you."
A great mentor of mine, Brian Parsley taught me that people have basic needs in order to be successful. They need to feel liked, important and appreciated. So often we assume people know how we feel, but actually saying, "I appreciate you." will ensure people know.
3. "Your effort didn't go unnoticed."
The amount of work each team member puts in on a daily basis feels like it's double over just ten years ago. Your team is doing the work and putting in effort that most people aren't willing to put in. They get to the office early, leave late, and blend work-life balance that goes well beyond what most people thing is acceptable. This can't go seemingly unnoticed or unrecognized.
Take the time to notice their effort and actions. Your words are not only powerful but needed. You will be shocked at how this simple phrase makes your people feel good.
4. "You are the glue, that makes our team effective."
There are "stars" of the team and there are the people that make the team work. Often times, we reward those whose behavior directly ties to revenue for the business. We make a huge deal if a sales contract is signed or a new product is created, but we often forget the people behind the scenes who keep the team running. It could be an assistant, a reserve bench player, an operations person, or someone in Human Resources.
There are so many people that keep your team running and effective and it's not just the sales department. Use these powerful words, "You are the glue, that makes our team effective" to let people on the front lines know you care and value them.
5. "Without you, we would be a fraction of what we are with you."
People often look for greener pastures simply because they don't understand how important they are to the team. By telling someone that you wouldn't be what you are today (or what you will be in the future) without them is a huge confidence boost and will keep them from taking those all too often calls from recruiters.
Whether you make leadership more complicated than it needs to be or not, remind yourself of these basic phrases that will a long way with your people.