Leaders should show gratitude. Andy Stanley offers the following pointers.
Be specific. When you say thank you, include details. There is a huge difference between saying thanks and saying thanks followed by a detailed description of what you caught, saw, or are aware the other person was doing.
Be public. Over the years we have learned the value of storytelling—the value of spending a few minutes in front of your leaders telling success stories that communicate vision, but more importantly, express gratitude. Public gratitude expresses a high level of value and can result in an even higher level of loyalty.
Be aware. You have to develop a mindset that looks for accomplishments to celebrate. Listen for stories two or three levels away in your organization and call or write to say thank you. Even though you didn't observe the act, you communicate, "I didn't see it, but somebody else saw it and they are talking about it. What you did is significant."
Be honest. Don't say you liked something you didn't. Remember, what gets rewarded gets repeated. Also, don't attribute something to someone that she didn't really do. Rather than being encouraging and motivating, you're communicating that you really weren't paying attention. So when you say thank you, be honest and don't overdo it.