If you want to have a high performing team, run a great non-profit, have a healthy relationship, or simply feel good inside … you must see this truth.

The truth is people need to feel their work matters, that it is appreciated, and that you care that they were the ones who did it. This is a new more empathetic mindset that leaders and teams need to recognize. The past style is no longer acceptable.

Do your job, that is what you are paid for

The old management style books and greats took a stance of — that is your job, why would I compliment you on it. Even the rating systems today 1–10 land people at a 5 if they do their job, because they did their job. Numbers loose context, personalities, impact, and the culture of an organization. In fact, if we measured people by this antiquated system we would fire the greatest CEOs and founders from around the highest growth companies over the past 20 years. Why? Because they were not only great at their skill but their true superpower was empathy and building culture.

Gratitude Matters

Empathy leads the day today in the work circles. But is it really new? Is the need to show gratitude and kindness new? I would say no, but the impact of not showing gratitude is magnified today do several factors.

Zero tolerance for negativity

Employees today (this generation, but their sensitivity and emphasis for kindness is beginning to spill into the larger workforce) have zero tolerance for negative (tough?) environments and immense ability to move to other teams, businesses, and even countries that will cater to these human needs.

Unscarred generation to economic pain

Employment and economics have been hyper inflated and good these days, and has led to a current generation of workers who have never been employed / run a business / lived through any economic down periods, and so they really have no context for how bad life cycles can swing. I remember living on inflatable furniture, two sets of silverware and a pot from the $1 store, and living on Ramen noodles for 80% of my meals at .20 a meal for a few rough months. As a result, I (older generation, ouch) and others are more conservative in switching as we believe goodwill is built with time and switching rapidly reduces it. This actually might be the worst and largest assumption now that pensions are basically as risky as social security. 

Are you avoiding change at the cost of your personal growth, opportunity to gain more diversity in culture and employment?

Changing jobs, moving cities (because they are more renters and have no permanent roots), online social circles, and a bit of a jaded view to large company retirement plans (given the news cycle of them failing / bankruptcy / and not delivering on the promise of lifetime pensions) has also fueled the impulsive switching of positions recently. A life lesson for all workers, regardless of their generation and position.

Give appreciation and share gratitude

The number one habit of leaders and high performing groups is giving appreciation and sharing gratitude. It needs to be honest, direct, in person, and can be private or in public. The shift of mindset cannot be — I expect them to do that, and they did it. You must shift and here is how:

  • Compliment them on GOOD work (don’t be false here)
  • Have good intentions, when you give gratitude and share appreciation do it solely to give them that feedback
  • No feedback sandwiches, don’t wrap a negative with two compliments — that is something different
  • Gratitude isn’t always about money rewards, in fact it is far better to do something personally relevant to that person than to give them a check (an example here is to buy a team member a bag of coffee from your trip because you know they love coffee and where you are going has the world’s greatest, hint hint)
  • Talk directly — if you want to have an impact, engage them one-on-one


  • Measure someone’s performance in front of another
  • Give criticism in open spaces
  • Lie, you still need to fire and swap team members when performance is creating a bad environment internally or in the market
  • Lie, about appreciation and quality of work .. it damages your brand and your efforts
  • Allow unkind and ego to spread negativity in your environment

Be better; Be Thankful

This is an area I am desperate to improving. I have done exceptionally great and incredibly missed the ball when I allowed life to catch me. Honestly I have even let a holiday break create a poor environment, because I didn’t over execute on this gratitude concept. 

My gratitude and appreciation for those who work for me; with me, and around me is immense. I simply need to continue to execute on this life principal, and not judge myself poorly when others feel I have underserved them. I know my intention and it is only good. 

Seek to create the world you want to live in — for me that is a world where kindness, gratitude, and a vibrant and positive community represents that world. The more we behave in this manner, the more this world exists. Please help.

How often do you thank people for what they are doing? 




Mark it on your calendar and make it a habit today

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About Me

I am a father, study of human behavior, strategist, cybersecurity veteran, and a coach and mentor on a journey to give more than I receive everyday. I lead teams globally, build products, and daily an executive for a leading company where I serve the largest companies in the world using the largest cloud deployments in the world impacting the financial services, healthcare, and fintech industries. I provide these publications and content through my media agency to deliver insights and advantages. Mindset, mental strength, mentorship, personal improvement, health, fitness, and humanist ideas are drawn from personal research and practice. Everything read and heard is my original works and my own perspective. All rights reserved for noted authors and sources. I produce research and strategy, as well as provide advisory services that include inquiries, briefings, consulting projects, and presentations on published findings as well as bespoke speaking engagements where I often keynote at conferences, seminars, and roundtables annually.

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