The thought that counts?

As a leader, you might have already begun thinking about giving gifts to your team to show your appreciation. Choosing the perfect gift is an art form .

It’s that time of year again. November has crept up on us all, bringing garish Christmas decorations, swelling social engagements and the onslaught of Christmas cards from people you barely know. It can be an overwhelming time while you try to spread your energy – and the Christmas cheer – evenly between work, friends and family.

As a leader, you might have already begun thinking about giving gifts to your team to show your appreciation. Many lean towards the generic gifts such as a bottle of wine, a gift card or flowers. These are all okay gifts but our guess is that you don’t want your gifts to be just … okay.

Choosing the perfect gift for each of your team members is an art form – some naturally have the talent but others need to put a little more time, effort and thought into their gifts to supercharge them and leave your team feeling valued and appreciated, while keeping it all professional.

Do you know your team well enough?

Did you know? According to TalentSmart, employees value managers who care about their experience. On a daily basis, these managers are the people their employees want by their side.

Spending time getting to know each of your team members is an excellent way to become one of these valued managers. Knowing their professional plans and goals is one thing, but knowing their likes, dislikes, weaknesses and strengths can be even more valuable in the long run.

What message are you sending?

Buying a bottle of wine for everyone can be a simple solution to the Christmas gift situation, but have you thought about the message it’s sending.

The same gift for everyone keeps the costs even, shows no favouritism and requires little thought. Seems like a positive, but what will each team member think? You want to avoid singling people out, but you don’t want everyone to feel as though you see them as carbon copies of each other.

Remember how important it is to get to know your team? A bottle of wine to an employee who doesn’t drink shows that you don’t listen in everyday conversations and you don’t care if they’re put in an uncomfortable position. This would, of course, never be your intention, but lack of thought into a gift can cause disastrous consequences.

It’s not just about the gift!

Lavish gifts count for very little when they’re not accompanied by words of encouragement and affirmation – whether this be verbally or through a handwritten note – can be all the difference between a gift sitting on a team member’s desk for the next month or being taken home and cherished as a heartfelt gesture.

It takes a good amount of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to give gifts that will be valued for years to come, so if it’s the thought that counts, make sure you put a lot of thought into rewarding your team this festive season.

If you’re ready to start developing your EQ to give great gifts at Christmas time (and throughout the year), People Make the Difference can help you with training workshops, one-on-one coaching and Coach On Call services. To find out more, call us on 0412 333 415 or visit