Thanksgiving is this Thursday, which kicks off the holiday season in earnest. For leaders, that means evaluating and reevaluating the past year by highlighting areas of strong leadership culture within their organization, and also noting areas that need improvement.

A large part of the holiday season is about saying thanks and giving back, and that doesn’t just go for your favorite charity—it can be applied internally to your organization as well. Here are five ways you can forge a stronger leadership culture, just in time for the holidays.

  1. Recognize even the smallest efforts. In addition to a strong leadership culture, an effective team isn’t just driven by its leaders or its stars—the role players matter too. Recognizing the hard work and efforts of each team member, no matter their title, office size or addition to the bottom line, helps leaders to inspire and motivate everyone to work harder. Show everyone that their work matters.
  1. Show appreciation for all ideas, even bad ones. Sometimes when strategizing, the best way to reach a great idea is for leaders to hear a few not-so-great ideas first. This brainstorming process has the potential to open up new and exciting avenues of thought, which may not have been opened had those other ideas not been initially brought up. Leadership culture means recognizing a great idea, but also appreciating that the path to great ideas can often be bumpy.
  1. Do the unexpected. December is generally the month for real thanks at an organization, whether it’s an office party, bonuses or other perks. As an effective leader, why not show your thanks near Thanksgiving as well? A kind gesture to your employees this time of year, no matter how small, can go a long way because an unexpected gift is almost always better received.
  1. Reward exceptional work with an exceptional thank you. Often, cordial messages and other types of thanks are sent electronically, where it’s easier and faster to communicate but perhaps less personal. Take the time to recognize exceptional work with an exceptional thank you—a handwritten note or card is much more tangible and effective in showing your employees that you’re a leader who cares about the work they’re doing.
  1. Thank the employee and their leader. This goes hand in hand with the previous tip. If a lower-level employee is doing exceptional work, it’s important to also take the time to recognize the person or persons directly between them and you—the assistant manager, the manager, the supervisor, whomever is responsible for the day-to-day work of that employee. Effective leadership culture must exist at all levels of an organization for success, and that means recognizing it at all levels, too.
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