What brings a hard-working and proven senior leader to the point of polishing her resume? Failure to let them know they are seen, heard, and appreciated.

The first sentence out of her mouth told me a lot. “I’m so frustrated that I want to call my boss and give him my five minute notice!”

This level of frustration was not typical for my long-time executive coaching client. We had worked together for 3 years and she had rarely, if ever, been this angry. She was a senior leader in a global business services company with a strong track record of achieving outstanding results. Now, however, she had a new boss.

The senior leader explained that she had just finished a one-on-one meeting with her new boss. Today’s meeting piled on her growing list of unacknowledged achievements, ignored suggestions, communication breakdowns, and intense micromanagement. She was at the end of her rope and looking for the exit.

Have you ever felt unappreciated by your boss? While I hope not, I’m guessing that you have. Now ask yourself this, have you ever caused those who report to you to feel underappreciated?

What brings a hard-working and proven senior leader to the point of polishing her resume? It’s a simple mistake top executives make all the time … in fact, it’s a mistake you may be making right now: Failure to let your team know they are seen, heard, and appreciated.

Everyone fundamentally wants to be seen, heard and appreciated.

Does your team feel seen, heard, and appreciated?

When we work hard to contribute, we yearn to be noticed. It is painful for our contributions to go unnoticed or be taken for granted. Being underappreciated can lead to burnout, a sense of being overwhelmed, and even to depression. And people who consistently feel unnoticed may find their way out of the company in search of a new boss or a healthier culture.

Have you ever made someone else feel invisible, unheard, and under-appreciated? Have you ever shut down someone else’s idea with quick comments about why that idea won’t work? Have you expected someone to work hard but not take the time to thank them for their effort? Inadvertently, probably so.

What can we do to see, hear and appreciate our teams?

What does it look like to “see, hear and appreciate” someone? Here are nine simple but not easy ways to show someone we see their contributions, hear their ideas, and appreciate their hard work.

  1. Active listening: When someone is speaking, give them your full attention. Maintain eye contact, nod to show you’re engaged, and avoid interrupting. Let them express themselves without judgment.
  2. Empathy and understanding: Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand their emotions, thoughts, and experiences. Be compassionate and supportive, especially during difficult times.
  3. Compliments and praise: Offer genuine, specific compliments and praise for their efforts, achievements, and unique qualities. Acknowledge their hard work and contributions.
  4. Support their goals: Encourage their aspirations and support them in pursuing their dreams. Offer help and guidance when needed.
  5. Respect their opinions: Even if you disagree with someone, show respect for their viewpoint. Engage in constructive discussions without belittling or disregarding their ideas.
  6. Celebrate their successes: Whether big or small achievements, celebrate their accomplishments and express your pride in their growth and progress.
  7. Express gratitude: Thank them for the positive impact they have on your life. Let them know how much you appreciate their presence and support.
  8. Encourage open communication: Create a safe and non-judgmental environment where they can express themselves freely. Listen without being critical or dismissive.
  9. Offer help and support: Be there for them when they need assistance or a listening ear. Show that you are willing to lend a hand whenever necessary.

As I listened to my client vent about her leader’s behavior, I asked a lot of questions. I helped her realize that she could start by giving her manager feedback about his impact, and then ask for what she needed from him. Essentially, she asked her boss to do more of the nine tips you see above. I’m happy to report that she actually had a few breakthroughs with him over the course of several months. The breakthroughs also made her more likely to practice those essential behaviors so that her team felt seen, heard and appreciated by her as their leader.

If you are a leader that wants to grow your ability to see, hear, and appreciate your team, connect with us. From building your communications skill set to leading a positive culture change in your organization, our skilled consultants can offer a solution that meets your needs and helps your team reach their peak performance by feeling seen, heard, and appreciated.

Michelle Sanford

Michelle Sanford

Executive Leadership Consultant

Michelle Sanford is a certified executive coach who has spent her career working with senior leaders and their teams to reach peak performance in both their professional and personal lives. With over 25 years of corporate experience, Michelle has held a variety of leadership roles and industries, working in sales, marketing, product development, operations and management. She built her operations and innovation expertise as an Innovation Analyst and an Operations Director before taking a role as the Director of Product Marketing. For the past two decades, Michelle has leveraged her organizational and management knowledge to help CEO’s and executives across the United States, to help them achieve maximum results and sustain life-changing behaviors. Michelle holds a BA in Individual and Organizational Leadership from DePaul University, is certified in career and education advising from CAEL & Indiana University, and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and a Professional Certified Coach (PCC). Michelle is comfortable in the boardroom, the conference room or on the front line and brings a solid performance focus and a heart of compassion to every client interaction.


Learn more about Michelle here.

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