Real appreciation involves recognizing, validating, understanding and receiving the person that is leading you.
I was asked to talk recently about what it really means to appreciate one's leadership (whether at work, church, or even in the home). My central thesis was that appreciation goes so much deeper than just a thank you.
I highlighted just four aspects that go into appreciating ones leader, or anyone really.
1) First you must SEE the value of your leader. Interesting thing about seeing is that it's an act of will. In other words, you can stand there and not see value right in front of you if you so choose. But value you do not see is also value you can't experience. What you experience is informed by what you have eyes to see. All of us have capacity to see good; but we can choose not to see it.
2) TEST or validate the value that you see in your leader. Leaders must prove themselves worthy of that role; and it is good to check for yourself whether this is the case. If your current leader has not proven themselves, you are in the wrong place. The problem is not the leader though. The problem is you, because you are the one sitting at a place that gives you no value.
3) Once you know that someone is valuable, it's important to UNDERSTAND them…not just their personality…their vision, purpose, and direction. Your identity is connected to the person that is leading you, and they will take you to their chosen destination whether you like it or not. So, be led by someone whose vision and purpose you agree with. You also need to understand your leader because you need to know how to serve under them, and also how to adapt yourself to be in alignment with the vision at hand...appreciation requires that you level up to the standard demanded by the vision. The act of appreciation is an act of service when looked at from this perspective.
4) Last you have to RECEIVE/WELCOME your leaders. Sometimes leaders have to pave the way to unknown paths. You may not agree with them all the time, or you may not see where they are going. But if they have proven themselves worthy, your loyalty and support becomes an invaluable service. Because the path of trailblazers is already a tough one, they need your support and buy in.
That was a long way of saying REAL APPRECIATION involves recognizing, validating, understanding and receiving the person that is leading you. The next time you tell your leader you appreciate them, check yourself to see if you are doing the above...because true appreciation us an act of service.