“Great Leaders Appreciate Value in Everyone.”

Fritz Kreisler, the world-famous violinist, earned a fortune with his concerts and compositions, but he generously gave most of it away. So, when he discovered an exquisite violin on one of his trips, he wasn’t able to buy it. Later, having raised enough money to meet the asking price, he returned to the seller, hoping to purchase that beautiful instrument. But to his great dismay, it had been sold to a collector.

Kreisler made his way to the new owner’s home and offered to buy the violin. The collector said it had become his prized possession, and he would not sell it. Keenly disappointed, Kreisler was about to leave when he had an idea. “Could I play the instrument once more before it is consigned to silence?” He asked.

Permission was granted, and the great virtuoso filled the room with such heart-moving music that the collector’s emotions were deeply stirred. “I have no right to keep that to myself,” he exclaimed. “It’s yours, Mr. Kreisler. Take it into the world, and let people hear it.”

To recognize someone is to acknowledge their existence. To appreciate someone is to attach value to their existence. Not everyone has a desire to be recognized publicly, but everyone has a deep need to be appreciated for who they are, not just recognized for what they do.

There are many ways to express appreciation to those who serve on your team. Here are three ways that I have used that might work for you:

First, make every day conversations intentional. No one should think they are indispensable, but neither should they show up every day and feel like they could be replaced at any moment. The way you communicate on a daily basis should make people “feel” they are valued and irreplaceable.

Second, show them how important they are not only to you, but to everyone else on the team. They expect feedback from you, but when it comes from others, it always packs a little more punch. Show your team that they are not only appreciated by you as their leader, but also by their co-workers, those being served, and even by the senior leaders.

Third, challenge them often. Every job comes with less-than-glamorous responsibilities, grunt work. When you only dole out repetitive tasks or tasks below their skill level, you convey that you really don’t need their specific, individual talents. But, when you give them a challenging task, you’re saying, “I know you’re capable of this and I trust you to do a great job.”

As was the case with Fritz Kreisler, who on your team, if truly appreciated, could provide value far beyond what you believe is possible or expect?

Unexpressed appreciation has little, if any, value. Great mechanics know that machines work better with a little attention. Great leaders know that people perform better with a little appreciation.

paration. They plan for as far as they can see and remain in a constant mode of preparation for what they can’t see.

What’s on your leadership radar today? Do you have a well-thought-out action plan already in place? Is your team prepared and ready to respond?

Until you know the difference between planning for today and preparing for tomorrow your team is going to struggle with your leadership.