Leadership Retreats Resources

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The Gift Guide for Growth-Minded Team Members

December 14, 2021
Lead Others
Jesse Parrish

There are two types of gift-givers in the world. The practical giver and the sentimental giver. My wife and I fall into the two separate camps.

As the practical giver, I assess a person’s needs, the functionality of an item, its utility, and the likelihood of being used on a daily basis. What is something this person needs and possibly would buy for themselves? It may be a pair of socks, a garden hose, a new cell phone cover, etc. If I do not know what the need is, then a gift card always works! It is functional and versatile!

While this may sound uninspiring to some, the heart behind it is to provide for someone in a very practical and functional way and to demonstrate care through the functionality of the gift.

My wife is a sentimental gift giver. She asks herself, “What is something this person would never buy for themselves?” Her heart is to find a gift that is unique and new for that person. A gift that indicates thoughtful consideration about something they would enjoy if they had it but would not get it for themselves. A gift with meaning that represents something about the person or their relationship with my wife.

Her search for the right gift is a labor of love and demonstrates care through her thoughtfulness and desire to celebrate that person uniquely.

As a leader, you have the opportunity to share an appreciation for your team members through gifts. This may come naturally to you or it may require a bit of intentionality and effort. Below is a guide to thoughtfully selecting a gift for your co-workers based on your giving style (or if you want to flex and try a different style of giving).

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The Practical Giver

For the practical giver, consider the following:

1. In what way does this team member like to receive appreciation? (based on the Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace)

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Receiving gifts
  • Acts of service

2. In what ways are they trying to grow professionally or personally? Examples may be: 

  • A professional development goal 
  • A new skill they want to develop
  • Working towards a promotion or new position
  • A personal hobby they enjoy 

3. Or, what are they trying to accomplish professionally or personally? Examples may be:

  • A current project they are enjoying working on
  • Culture or relationship they are trying to build and foster professionally

4. What resources do I have to put towards this gift?

  • Time
  • Money
  • Relationships/Network
  • Knowledge
  • Encouragement 

Finally, put this information together as a guide on what to give and how to give it. An example may be someone who loves words of affirmation, they are looking forward to planning a new vegetable garden and you have encouragement, network, and $10 to give towards their gift.

Possible gift from the practical giver: A gift could be a $10 bag of vegetable fertilizer…(bare with me here). Along with a handwritten note on the importance of fertilizer for a garden and specific examples of how this person has helped enrich and nourish a positive and healthy team. Offer to connect them with Bob who is a master gardener so they can swap stories and best gardening practices.

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The Sentimental Giver

For the sentimental giver, consider the following:

1. In what way does this team member like to receive appreciation?

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Receiving gifts
  • Acts of service

2. What unique value or strength does this person add to the team? Examples may be:

  • They are a calm steady presence and a great listener
  • They galvanize and are wonderful encouragers 
  • They are determined and dedicated, seeing things through to the end

3. Or, what do they uniquely enjoy doing and “come alive” in? Examples may be:

  • Attending events with friends or family (sports, concerts, festivals, etc.)
  • A favorite hobby or area of passion (fishing, pottery, reading, volunteering)

4. What resources do I have to put towards this gift?

  • Time
  • Money
  • Relationships/Network
  • Knowledge
  • Encouragement

Let’s say someone loves spending time with their family and going to events. They receive appreciation best through time together.

Possible gift from a sentimental giver: Slide them an envelope with notice for an extra ½ off plus family bundle tickets to the local minor league team’s upcoming home game.

The possibilities are endless. Expand your thinking from the typical Christmas card or cheesy “World’s Best Employee” mug. As you consider how to express care and appreciation through gifts consider the following options from WinShape:

The following are other curated ideas from our staff for the growth-minded employee and team member.

Gift Guide: Three Gifts that Facilitate Personal Growth

1. Self-Care Truth or Dare

Purpose: I know that I have difficulty coming up with self-care ideas and most people often have the same obstacle. This eliminates the ideating process and sends them right into action! They can do this as often as every day or once a week.

A Way to Personalize: Simply create do a DIY version! Grab some popsicle sticks and jar from your local craft store and a quick google search of self-care dare ideas and begin writing them on the popsicle sticks. You can keep it general with what you find or take time to really think of who’s receiving the gift and what they need based on where they are in their journey. An evaluating question as you write can be: What challenges them?

2. MasterClass

Purpose: Whether they have a hobby or don’t, becoming a master at a craft can grow you in many ways. You can pick something you know they are in the process of learning or select something they wouldn’t have guessed as an option!

A Way to Personalize: Once you’ve selected a class, write a small note to them why you selected it. Think of some of the characteristics they could gain from this experience and how you believe it can play into the larger picture of their journey. Maybe buy them a tool they can use within the class and have it personalized with an inspiring quote or their name.

3. The Inspired Leader Kit

Purpose: A little inspiration in a box! This simple gift is perfect for the avid reader that is hungry for growth.

A Way to Personalize: A DIY version can be offer as a cheaper option. Choose a book that has inspired you along your self-leadership journey (Some suggestions we have are: Good to Great by Jim Collins, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer, Team Work by Rusty Chadwick and Russ Sarratt, Whale Done by Ken Blanchard) add a personalized yeti mug, a card explaining why you chose this book and maybe some questions for them to ponder after they have read it. Perhaps buy a book you have not yet read yourself and choose to read it together! You can also put a leather journal in the box so that they can take notes as they read. To go further, within that journal you can write a personal letter to them that inspires them to pursue their personal mission in life.

Gift Guide: Three Gifts that Facilitate Relational Growth

1. Airbnb Gift Card

Purpose: This can be great for someone who’s married or has close friends! Who doesn’t love a cool getaway? This allows them to be intentional with taking time to invest in those around them by planning a mini vacation. This gift can be extravagant with a week’s paid vacation or a day trip, it’s really up to you for the price of the gift.

A Way to Personalize: Look up some unique Airbnbs in their surrounding area and attach that list. If you’re really extra, for every location suggestion you can look up local activities/places to explore. Another idea would be to also add a board game for them to play while they are there or a card desk that provokes conversation.

2. At Home Kits

Purpose: Sometimes a night in can be just as exciting as going out! You can buy these for two people or for a group to do together. From baking cookies to building a model airplane, you can find all sorts of at-home kits from Uncommon Gifts or through a quick google search.

A Way to Personalize: Select something that aligns with a hobby they love or attach a purpose to it. At home kits don’t have to just be for ourselves but we can make something for someone else in need. Kind of like a gift that keeps on giving.

3. A Year of Connection

Purpose: In the busyness of life, it can be hard to pause and be intentional with the words we say. A letter to someone, even if their love language is not words of affirmation, can go a long way. Everyone wants to know what they mean to you or how their life has created impact. 

A Way to Personalize: Consider giving them a kick-off with questions to ponder before writing each note. For example: Who has impacted you this week? What’s one moment you were really grateful for? Who is someone that inspired you this week?

Team Work Book Image

Give the gift of Team Work to your teammates

No matter the industry or profession, the success of a team and the fulfillment of its members depend on each individual’s ability and desire to contribute. Team Work introduces 13 timeless principles of teamsmanship—simple but transformative values that are revolutionizing the way teams function.