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Your Leadership Shopping List

'Tis the season to give. And finding the right gift to give the people on your team can be challenging. Oprah Winfrey once said, "It doesn't matter what the thing is; what matters is how much of yourself goes into the giving, so that when the gift is gone, the spirit of you lingers." This is especially true for leaders. When you give of yourself you build character and credibility both for you and your organization.

Below are ways you can give this Christmas that won't put a dent in your budget.

1. Acknowledge people everyday. A colleague of mine, Wayne Sellers, greets everyone with a handshake each morning. That few minutes he spends encouraging his staff is much more beneficial than one more cup of coffee or answering the emails waiting in his inbox. Too many people to make that work? Divide up by departments and appoint someone to be the morning greeter for each group.

2. Recognize important dates. Birthdays and company anniversaries matter. Add dates to your outlook calendar or palm pilot then set a reminder. Everyone likes to be recognized on their special day. And they will be impressed that you remembered.

3. Include people in decisions that affect their department. Listen to their concerns. Be open to their input. If it directly affects their department and you don't have their buy in, the decision will most likely be ineffective anyway. Even if it is a mandatory policy, let their voice be heard. Sometimes just venting their feelings is enough to get people on board.

4. Acknowledge their work. Be specific about the things they do well. A simple pat on the back or hand written note can be powerful at building an employee's professional esteem.

5. Leave your door open. This radiates an open door policy. When people believe they can come to you with any problems, issues or concerns, you open the door to know exactly what is going on in your organization.

6. Give people creative freedom. A team full of people who problem solve and brainstorm only your ideas will create a stagnate organization. Let them think 'out of the box' and watch your organization grow.

7. Be human. Admit when you make a mistake. Laugh at their jokes. Share stories about your family. People need a leader they can relate to.

You may be thinking a few of these 'gifts' are obvious. Perhaps you already give several of the 'gifts' on the list year. Or maybe you found a few new ones for your shopping list. At the core of all of these gifts is you. Whether it is the eleven gifts on this list or any of 100 others, give yourself this holiday season ? and make it a habit the whole year through.

Holly Powers ( is passionate about working with Clients in her role as the Client Development Princess for The Kevin Eikenberry Group ( She is also the editor of Unleash Your Potential. Go to be.asp to subscribe.

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