What Does Making A Toast Say About Your Leadership?


Last week my twin sister and I celebrated our joint birthday. We try to set aside special time together each August to honor our shared birthday and welcome a promising year ahead. It’s a ritual we have done for a long time and look forward to it each summer. For the first time, my twin asked me if we could write toasts for our birthday dinner. She felt that this year she really wanted to add this new custom to our celebration. At first, I thought toasting one another was totally unnecessary and would be odd at best. But it turned out to be extraordinary in both preparing and presenting. Not only did it give me an opportunity to reflect on her unique qualities, but also I loved her reaction as I shared it. I, in turn, so enjoyed her toast to me.

I began to think about how important it is to create a ritual to celebrate accomplishments as well as to express gratitude to the people in our professional lives. Leaders need to take the time to toast the exceptional members of their teams and communities they lead in and here’s why:

Toasting is a way to honor others: Leaders cannot accomplish great things without the help and support of others. When was the last time you soloed on a project, not interfacing with another person? Your response is probably similar to mine-NEVER! That’s because we learn so much from one another and often depend on each other when we collaborate. We are constantly piggy-backing on ideas that those around us share, which end up producing exceptional results. So taking the time to say how grateful we are is important for others to hear and humbling for us to remind ourselves.

Preparing the toast gives us great insights: When I was writing my twin sister’s toast, it enabled me to focus in on ways she is so important to me. The same goes for leaders- reflecting on the strengths and talents of team members and people we connect with, allows us to appreciate their contributions. When we take the time to think about how another has impacted an outcome or led a strategy, we can envision future ways to draw on their gifts. This could be the beginning of cultivating a future leader.

When others are toasted, they feel valued and empowered: It is fascinating to see how other people respond to being thanked and recognized for their work and support. When we feel we are a valuable part of a professional or personal community, we automatically want to reach higher and contribute more. We feel empowered to share our ideas and suggestions, not fearful that they will be shot down. We get excited and look forward to working on the next big thing because we have been given credit and encouragement. When leaders acknowledge an individual’s work as worthwhile, they are growing a future leader.

Giving a toast is fulfilling and gratifying: Looking at the smile on my sister’s face and watching her eyes light up was worth all the effort I put into writing my toast. The true gift of leadership is being able to give to others and watch them grow and blossom. Guiding our team members to take the next step is what leadership is all about. Helping others to build on their skills and accomplishments enables leaders to grow too.

So are you ready to show your appreciation and toast the people in your professional and personal life? Have you ever toasted your team? How did it feel and what reaction did you get?


 photo credit


24 thoughts on “What Does Making A Toast Say About Your Leadership?

  1. Hi Terri

    I just love that story! What a special birthday evening. And you made a point that really resonated with me: when we honor others we empower them…I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can actually empower others, and I’ve found I’m grappling for specific ways to do that. I think by honoring others we show them recognition, appreciation, and value.

    Happy Birthday!

  2. Thanks Lolly for your kind wishes and unyielding support! I do feel that when we take the time to recognize others and tell them how appreciative we are, we are empowering them to forge ahead! I am grateful for you!

  3. LaRae, it is so true that we do help others grow and gain confidence by acknowledging their gifts and accomplishments. I just think we don’t take the time to do it because we get caught up in the tasks and activities. When we show genuine gratitude, people feel our belief in them and want to work even harder to reach their goals and dreams. I am so thrilled we have gotten the opportunity to work together on our project for it has enabled me to learn so much more about amazing you! Terri

  4. I loved this post, Terri! Acknowledgment is a leader’s gold. I never realized until your post how the whole process of creating a toast and delivering it is a sort of leadership journey . . . there is pause, reflection, being able to isolate and articulate what is valuable in another; and then, to share, and to connect deeply through appreciation!
    Happy Birthday. Great post!

  5. Terri,

    I did not know you we’re a twin! How fun! I love the post, it is a reminder of how little things, thoughtful things, things that take us slightly out of our comfort zone can bring great joy.

    Thank you for sharing your story!


  6. Terri ,

    Happy Birthday!

    This is beautiful – not only because you remind us that we do not do great things alone but also because there is as much in the experience of writing and reflecting on the gifts of others as there is in giving the gift. Really spending time looking at what other’s bring to the table can often surprise us too – we take the time to notice the big stuff but also all of the many small ways that they contribute and influence every day.

    What a wonderful idea for leaders to toast their teams… what if each one of us took the time to raise a glass full of love and thoughtfulness towards another?

    Thanks for sharing this meaningful moment with all of us!

  7. I love how you describe it, Blair- acknowledgement is a leader’s gold! When leaders take the time to show appreciation, it becomes an element of empowerment to the recipients. I know that when I leave a training and a participant tells me how much they enjoyed and learned from the program, I feel as if I have been toasted. Thanks for great additions and insights!

    And thank you for your birthday wishes!


  8. It is wonderful having a twin sister to share so many of life’s successes and challenges. I do think when we try new ways to show gratitude we become more aware and stronger leaders. Thanks for your support!


  9. Alli, over the years, I have come to realize that I love collaborating with others. Through those joint experiences, I have learned so much and engaged with so many loving and caring people. I do enjoy sharing my professional and personal lessons with others, especially when it can make a difference in someone’s journey.

    It does sound like an extraordinary idea to fill our glasses with love and thoughtfulness to toast those around us we are thankful for.

    Thanks for always being there for me!

    Thanks for your kind birthday wishes!

  10. Thanking, appreciating and valuing your team plays huge dividends ~ and doing this not only on special occasions but all day and every day. Great post and reminder.

  11. Happy Birthday Terri. May you always have the best in life.

    I love your post & I so resonate with that. I agree with you that it is important to toast our achievements and celebrate no matter how big or small. By giving ourselves permission to celebrate, we empower ourself with positive energy and be gratuitous. Being gratuitous helps each of us to feel honored and humbled.

    Thank you for the lovely reminder Terri.

    May you and your sister have many more birthdays to celebrate and succeed.


  12. Yes, CASUDI, it is so important that we take the time to thank team members for all they do and tell them how valuable their contributions are. Showing gratitude daily is terrific as is toasting them at critical junctures. It really does help empower them to be more confident and committed. Thanks for stoping by and sharing your great additions!

  13. What beautiful words you share about my birthday,Lalita and I thank you for that. My twin sister is very precious to me. I love the idea that we empower ourselves with positive energy when we celebrate others. That is so true too! I so appreciate you and connecting!

    Thanks as always!


  14. Happy Birthday to you and your sister, Terri. When we take the time to celebrate others we acknowledge and honor them. We all want to feel that we are respected and valued. Every time we receive this kind of feedback, we are empowering another to follow their passion. Wise counsel, Terri. Thank you.

  15. Thanks Jen for your birthday wishes! I agree that sharing with others how valuable they are to us, we empower them to forge ahead. Our appreciation demonstrates our belief in their capabilities which may make them feel more confident in their path. I know that in my past when people believed in me I was able to achieve far more. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Happy Birthday Terri and THANK YOU for this fantastic and creative way to bring happiness to others. I am currently working on developing Inclusion practices and your article has given me the idea for a possible program at work!

    “An Email Toast” program would enable team members to recognize the accomplishments of their peers and hopefully bring some happiness to the folks that have worked hard to help others.

    Wonderful article! Thank you again!

  17. I just love your idea, Al, of a “email toast” for your team! By sharing with others how much we appreciate them, we are empowering them to continue on their path and keep evolving. Preparing the toast is also an important part of the process for it enables leaders to reflect on others’ gifts, talents, strengths and contributions. So both parties really win and grow from the experience.

    Thank you so much for sharing with me how my post inspired you into action!


  18. You are so right, Karin, that we do need more formal or specific ways to show our appreciation for others. It can take time to reflect on the valuable contributions of others, but well worth it.

    There is nothing better than knowing someone is empowered by your grateful words!

  19. Thanks Phil for your kind words and support. It truly is an amazing reward to show and toast appreciation. It is empowering for both people. Thanks for stopping by and share your wonderful comments!

  20. Great post Terri! I have never thought about how closely leadership goals and toasting are related, but you seem to have some pretty darn good points about them. I do reflect on the times I have made a toast, and thought about the good qualities of the person, and you’re right a good leader is nothing without the support of their team.

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