Tis the season for appreciation! This month, we’re exploring the importance and practical application of gratitude in the delegation process.

Happy November, and happy National Gratitude Month! 

I’m a big believer in the benefits of expressing gratitude, but even I have to admit that, despite its inherent importance and value in my day-to-day interactions, it’s not always top of mind. In the context of delegation, it can be overlooked entirely.

I suspect I’m not alone so, in honor of this nationwide observance, let’s try to do better together.


Gratitude and Delegation

When you delegate, you’re inviting folks to be active participants in your life in some way or another; you’re introducing an elevated tier of trust and respect into those relationships. Given that and the otherwise transactional nature of delegation, expressing gratitude becomes a critical component to maintaining a healthy, balanced dynamic with these folks. 

You know that. I know that. So why is it so dang difficult to do sometimes? 

Besides being too busy or maybe too afraid (expressing gratitude can be quite vulnerable), I’ve recently been convinced that part of the challenge may lie in how we think about and approach our expressions of gratitude. 


Appreciation vs. Recognition

I’d be willing to bet that most of us probably use “appreciation” and “recognition” interchangeably. I certainly have…until I stumbled upon this talk. In it, leadership expert Mike Robbins suggests that there’s a distinction between these two seemingly synonymous words and that understanding this distinction makes all the difference when choosing our gratitude gestures.

Appreciation is about people. Recognition is about results. They’re both important, but they’re different.”
– Mike Robbins, Leadership Expert

In just under 17 minutes, Robbins fundamentally changed how I think about expressing gratitude and, in a lot of ways, has dramatically simplified it. There’s so much to take away from his talk, but here are the most useful nuggets of information that I’m taking with me:

  • Recognition is an excellent way to express gratitude. Folks love to be celebrated when they’ve done good work and performed well. This, however, doesn’t lend itself to those moments when folks don’t perform as expected or when a desired outcome isn’t achieved; it’s situational and, therefore, isn’t always appropriate.
  • Appreciation, on the other hand, is always appropriate. There will never be a time when it’s wrong to celebrate your humans for who they are and the unquantifiable value they bring to your life.

Pretty straightforward, no? Now, it’s just a matter of putting it all into practice.


Go Forth and Let the Gratitude Flow Freely

I invite you to join me in making a concerted effort to regularly and whole-heartedly honor your humans, especially your helpers, with genuine expressions of gratitude. When in doubt, focus your energy on appreciation, especially if recognition isn’t right for the occasion. It’s a much better default than withholding gratitude entirely.

Thankfully, this is easier than you might think! There are so many ways to show appreciation in any context and, really, at any time. Leave a tip (or a bigger tip than usual). Send flowers, a small gift, or their favorite sweet treat. Give them a day off. Buy them a meal. Or simply tell them. Whether it’s in conversation or in a thoughtful note, this classic form of appreciation goes a long way and pairs nicely with any of the aforementioned. 

The key is to do or say something that speaks to that person on a human level. What do they enjoy? What could they really use or even need? Think about what makes them special and unique. Get specific. For loved ones, maybe tap into their Love Languages. Show them you care about them and value them for who they are. 

If you’re stumped or simply need some help getting the ball rolling on your appreciation gesture, we’re here to help however we can. We’ve got a lot of ideas and a lot of practice that we will happily apply to your unique situation!

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Lyrissa (she/her)

Marketing + Design

Lover of sunrise, dancing, peanut butter, and the color purple.

Inspired by exquisite storytelling. Grateful for disco.