Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise. - Dale Carnegie
Running a team can be extremely challenging at times. Being responsible for the coordination of human beings resulting in the execution of a product that will be used and purchased by a completely different set of (less forgiving) humans is a tough situation to be in regardless of industry.
One thing that frequently baffles team leaders -new and old alike- is how and when to give praise. As a result, most team leaders err on the side of not saying anything when someone on their team does something awesome.
Over time, this can result in a significant reduction in team morale, which in turn, will reduce the effectiveness and productivity of everyone on the team. Once this happens, your chances of hitting your next deliverable date decrease rapidly.
One of the easiest and most straightforward ways I've found to combat this issue is to simply say "Thank You" whenever someone on your team deserves it. Did Jim stay late last week to finish that one final defect before he went home? Did Suzy come up with a new way of doing work that saves the rest of the team some hassle? Did Charlie simply hit his deadline? If so, say "Thank You!"
Thanking someone for their hard work, even if it was for meeting a goal that is part of their everyday responsibilities sends a message to your team that you notice when things are being done right and helps encourage the same type of behavior in the future.