Feeling appreciated fuels motivation, and the ability to make others feel as if their efforts and contributions are truly appreciated is a big part of what makes a good leader. Employee appreciation may seem easy enough, but the truth is that it’s often easier said than done.

The general consensus among employees tends to be that their bosses don’t truly appreciate them, and you’ll have to overcome that general consensus to prove otherwise.

To help you hone your leadership qualities so that your team will feel more appreciated and, in turn, be more motivated, consider implementing these five steps.

1. Genuinely Care

One of my favorite leadership quotes says:

“The best leaders have a high Consideration Factor. They really care about their people”.

You see, it’s not enough to compliment your employees when they do good – if it’s not genuine, they will see straight through it.

Before you can get to the point where your team feels appreciated, you have to get to the point where you really do appreciate them.

If you can learn to truly care for and appreciate your team – even if it takes time and practice – they will take notice.

2. Look At Your Leadership Style

There are a number of leadership styles that you may choose to employ, each one with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

However, some leadership styles lend themselves more to making your team feel appreciated than others.

One of my favorites is a leadership style called Golden Rule Management, which simply states that you should treat your employees the way you would want to be treated if you were in their position and they were in yours.

Undoubtedly, this will include giving genuine appreciation where appreciation is due.

3. Engage In Everyday Conversations

One of the most important things for leaders to keep in mind is the fact that the people under them are ordinary, everyday people.

They’re not robots built to perform a task, and each one of them has aspirations, passions, struggles, and more that exist outside of their day job.

One of the easiest ways to show you truly appreciate your employees is to engage with them in conversation about these topics.

Really, all you have to do is spend a little time talking to your employees the same way you would talk to a neighbor or any other acquaintance.

If you do this, you’ll show that you see your employees as more than people who are just there to perform a task.

4. Communicate Your Goals

Employees like to know that they are playing an important role in moving the company forward.

However, it’s hard for an employee to see how they are playing a role in the bigger picture if they have no idea what that bigger picture is.

This makes it important to clearly communicate goals to your employees and let them know how what they are doing is helping the company reach those goals.

That not only applies to the short-term goals you set for individual employees but also long-term goals that they may only play a part in helping reach.

The better your employees understand how their efforts are making a difference, the more appreciated they will feel.

5. Challenge Your Employees

Some leaders feel that intentionally challenging their employees will have a negative effect on their morale.

The reality is, though, that nothing could be further from the truth.

Few people enjoy doing mundane, mindless tasks, and the chances are that the people who work under you have worked for years in their career, furthered their education, and learned secondary skills, all so they are better equipped to tackle more and more complex challenges.

For those who have put in the work to better themselves, nothing is more rewarding than getting a chance to flex their capabilities by tackling a challenge, and you can guarantee that, if they are able to overcome the challenge you give them, they’ll come out of it feeling more appreciated than ever.