Why It’s Important for Leaders to Recognize Small Wins

Celebrating small wins has a powerful impact on employees’ well-being, motivation, and output.

fizkes / Shutterstock
fizkes / Shutterstock

During these uncertain and challenging times, being an effective leader takes diligence, efficiency and an ability to keep up your team’s morale. One crucial key to fostering enthusiasm and optimism is encouraging your team to find meaning in their work and recognize their achievements — big and small. “Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work,” write Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer in a piece they co-authored for the Harvard Business Review (HBR). “When we think about progress, we often imagine how good it feels to achieve a long-term goal or experience a major breakthrough. These big wins are great — but they are relatively rare. The good news is that even small wins can boost inner work life tremendously.”

Working with your reports to celebrate their progress, however small, is crucial, but it’s equally important to acknowledge your own wins. After all, by showing yourself appreciation, you’ll be better equipped to dole it out to your team. 

Here are three small ways to help you get into the habit of celebrating tiny victories:

At the end of every day, take a minute to think about what you accomplished today. 

In the midst of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to celebrate your small wins — and to help your team members to do the same. 

During your next virtual team meeting, invite your colleagues to share any small win they had this week.

Sometimes we wait for the end of a goal before we feel entitled to update a group of colleagues on our success. Encouraging team members to talk about their steps along the way can help normalize a culture of celebrating progress. 

Express gratitude

Research shows that practicing gratitude has benefits for everyone — the person giving as well as the one receiving the praise. If you’re trying to help your team build strength and emotional resilience, taking some time to thank them for their contributions will go a long way.

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