Business Leaders Need Recognition, Too

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Usually, business blogs are focused on rewarding and recognizing lower-level employees to keep them engaged and committed to the company. However, employees aren’t the only members of your organization doing good works; business leaders also accomplish amazing feats, raising your business to new heights. Plus, leaders tend to be ambitious, and they are even more likely than lower-level workers to seek new, better employment elsewhere, leaving gaps in your teams.

All this is to say that you need to be rewarding and recognizing your business leaders, at all levels. Here are a few ways you can show your leaders that you see them and care about their accomplishments without making them feel like “just part of the team.”

Offer Unique and Elegant Awards and Gifts

Business leaders tend to be motivated intrinsically by concepts like passion for their work, ambition to be better or thrill for taking risks and seeing success. Thus, a Starbucks gift card and a printed certificate doesn’t do much to boost their productivity or help them feel like a valued member of the organization. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t give your leaders physical gifts; rather, you simply need to ensure that those gifts don’t simply serve as external motivation and instead provide a different benefit.

Awards should be unique, not a throwaway item found in any big box store, and they should be elegant, affirming that a leader is worthy of admiration. For instance, high-quality crystal awards can be given to leaders for noteworthy efforts; because these awards are expensive and attractive, they will lend offices a sense of gravitas that improve a leader’s image in the workplace and with peers. You might even discuss with leaders what they would prefer to receive as rewards and gifts, to ensure they don’t feel disrespected by a low-quality offering.

Involve Leaders in Major Business Decisions

While upper-level leaders will always be brought into meetings concerning major business maneuverings, mid- and lower-level leaders are often left out. Therefore, you can easily show your appreciation of a leader’s efforts by introducing them to higher-tier decision-making. This works on multiple levels: It shows that you trust in a leader’s discretion regarding more confidential business information; it shows that you value a leader’s input, even in big-picture issues; and it shows that you can see a lower-level leader achieving a c-suite title at some point in their career.

What’s best about this method of recognition is that it’s free. You don’t have to spend a penny to invite leaders to meetings. Meanwhile, you’ll develop a leader who is more knowledgeable about the organization and who has greater commitment to you and your cause.

Give Leaders Opportunities to Grow

A leader is never too advanced; there are always skills that a leader can develop or improve to do better in their position and career. While it is becoming more popular for employers to offer education benefits to lower-level employees for the sake of lowering workforce turnover, you should also strive to offer a variety of career development options specifically for your leaders.

There are plenty of ways to give leaders opportunities to grow. While advanced training, like a formal MBA program and similar university study, can be advantageous, you might also consider less expensive options, like sending leaders to conferences and enacting a mentor-mentee program. Not only is skill- and knowledge-building valuable, but so is cultivating relationships with like-minded professionals, so providing these kinds of prospects can help your leaders improve. Furthermore, you shouldn’t forget to praise leaders who engage with these opportunities, so they understand that you recognize and appreciate their efforts.

Provide Ample Opportunity for Advancement

Perhaps the most powerful thing you can do to reward leaders is to help them advance along their chosen career path. In an era when workers can only climb the career ladder by jumping from company to company, it is thrilling to find an employer that prioritizes promoting from within. Using advancement as a means of rewarding high-performing leaders is effective in a couple critical ways: It creates greater loyalty amongst all levels of employment, and it ensures that leaders have greater experience within the organization, so they can lead with positive impact.

Of course, this demands that you keep a close eye on leaders’ accomplishments as well as their ambitions. You might need to meet with leaders on a regular basis, perhaps every couple months, to check up on their performance and gain a better understanding of their career intentions. Then, when the time is right, you can promote them to the next step of their career journey.

Many organizations think leaders are the ones who should be giving recognition and appreciation, not accepting it. However, by showing your leaders that you are watching them – and admiring them – you can create a stronger, more stable business overall.

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.