Have you ever had a conversation with the leader of your team and they're criticizing work you performed. Of course you have if you've worked more than one day in your life. Then when you have an issue about it they say, "I'm just being honest." This is absolutely true. They are just being honest. The problem is that when good work is performed, or even excellent, game changing type work the same leader who was just being honest responds with a "thank you", or "o.k."
After I was promoted at my store I was in a bit of limbo. I was waiting for one of the other managers to move, so each day I had to find someone to help do projects. We were a few weeks from black friday, so I went to the co-manager Andy who was in charge and asked him if he wanted me to help him organize the merchandise on the garden patio as it came in. He did and was rather happy I volunteered. In fact he made a point of telling the store manager in front of me that it was my idea.
People at the store were shocked I volunteered because Andy can be very difficult sometimes, but he's very good at his job. Andy is very organized, so he knew exactly how he wanted everything laid out. My job was to keep track of new freight, and organize it outside by the aisle or area in the store it was going.
I was able to recruit my buddy Clark to help me, and he did a GREAT JOB! We came in on days off. We worked late just so we could keep track of everything and keep it organized on the patio. It was quite stressful and hectic. On the day we needed to finish Andy expressed displeasure and felt we would be farther along. I explained he had nothing to worry about, but he was rather annoyed. Then Clark so eloquently opined, "Andy, we got this. Don't worry." Andy left with a word. As WE expected we got it done right and on time. When Andy saw it he looked around and said, "thank you guys have a good night." That was it. All the hard work and hours and that was our appreciation. I didn't expect a parade, but being told I did a good job would have been nice. Don't get me wrong I was still very pleased with the work we did, and I know Andy was but it's nice to hear.
Keep that in mind as a leader. If you're willing to criticize then you need to be willing to praise. If your associate does work they're supposed to do then praise isn't necessarily warranted. That's a judgement call, but going above and beyond warrants it. Nothing elaborate. Just say good job. Of course you can throw in a fist bump or high five. Why not. The funny thing is saying that to your associates makes you feel good too. You'll be surprised at what two simple words do for you, your associate, and your team's morale.