As the year gracefully makes its exit, it’s time for reflection, appreciation and most importantly, CELEBRATION. You’ve been at the forefront of your team’s journey through the highs and lows of the past 12 months. Now, as we approach the year-end, it’s not just about wrapping up projects; it’s about acknowledging the hard work, resilience and achievements of your team.

As MindTools would put it, “Motivated people are highly adaptable, particularly when it comes to change and they have a positive attitude at work.”

Another positive impact of acknowledging team effort is a boost in productivity. According to Indeed, when organisations celebrate success at work, employees feel more appreciated and needed.

Reflecting on your Journey

Before we delve into the celebrations, let’s take a moment to reflect. Think about the goals you – or the organisation – set at the beginning of the year: those ambitious targets, the strategic initiatives, the collective aspirations. Consider the challenges you faced in your role as a middle manager, the pivots you executed and the milestones you achieved against all odds. Your team, under your guidance, has navigated uncharted waters and it’s time to celebrate their triumphs.

Acknowledging the Effort

Recognition is a powerful motivator. Your team’s dedication and hard work deserve more than a passing acknowledgement. Here’s how you can ensure that their efforts are not just noticed but celebrated:

 1. Personal Recognition: Take the time to acknowledge each team member personally. A handwritten note, a personalised email or even a quick one-on-one virtual meeting can go a long way. Be specific about what you appreciate in each person’s contribution.

2. Public Appreciation: In your team meetings or through your communication channels, publicly appreciate the team’s collective efforts. Shine a spotlight on specific achievements and the impact they’ve had on the broader goals of the organisation. Be mindful that not everyone likes to be publicly praised.

    Creating a Festive Atmosphere

    As we approach the festive season, infuse some festive spirit into your team’s virtual or in-person gatherings:

    1. Virtual Celebrations: If your team is working remotely, consider hosting a virtual celebration. It could be a themed virtual party, a team-building game or even a virtual awards ceremony. Send out e-invitations to build anticipation and excitement. You can post/ship decorations, small gifts, or have a meal delivered so everyone can share as if around the same table.

    2. In-Person Gatherings: If circumstances allow, organising an in-person gathering can be a wonderful way to celebrate. Whether it’s a festive lunch, a team outing or a simple get-together, being physically present can create a sense of camaraderie. Pre-COVID this would probably have been a given as an end of year activity, now in our COVID-infused world, maybe not so much. Consider what new traditions and create with your team.

      Reflecting on Individual Growth

      Beyond the team’s accomplishments, take a moment to recognise the individual growth of each team member:

      1. Career Milestones: Acknowledge any career milestones achieved by your team members during the year. Whether it’s a work anniversary, a promotion or the completion of a significant project, these moments contribute to the overall success of the team.

      2. Professional Development: If your team members have undertaken professional development opportunities, celebrate their commitment to growth. Whether it’s completing a course, obtaining a certification or participating in workshops, their dedication to learning deserves recognition.

        Encouraging Peer-to-Peer Recognition

        Empower your team to recognise each other’s contributions:

        1. Peer Recognition Sessions: Incorporate a segment into your team meetings where team members can express appreciation for their colleagues. This not only fosters a positive team culture but also allows team members to see the impact of their work on others.

        2. Virtual Appreciation Wall: Create a virtual appreciation wall where team members can post messages, kudos or even small gifs to celebrate their peers. This shared space adds an element of fun and inclusivity.

        Looking Toward the Future

        Amidst the celebrations, it’s also a time to look forward:

        1. Goal Setting: As you celebrate the achievements of the year, begin setting goals for the upcoming one. What new heights do you want to reach as a team? What challenges do you anticipate and how can you navigate them together?

        2. Feedback Sessions: Use this time to gather feedback from your team. What worked well this year? What could be improved? Creating a culture of open feedback helps in continuous improvement.

        Expressing Gratitude

        Finally, express your gratitude. Let your team know how much you appreciate their hard work, adaptability and resilience. Gratitude is a powerful motivator and sets a positive tone for the future.

        As we raise our virtual or physical glasses to bid farewell to this year, let’s not just celebrate the projects completed but the growth achieved, the challenges overcome and the bonds strengthened. Your role as a leader goes beyond task management; it involves creating an environment where successes, big or small, are acknowledged and celebrated.


        Here’s to you, the captain of your ship, and to your incredible team. May your celebrations be filled with joy, camaraderie and a deep sense of accomplishment.

        Let me know how you celebrate the year’s end, I’d love to know.