Appreciation: The Unexpected Bliss
"Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary." - Margaret Cousins
Think of the last time you received unexpected appreciation. What was said? How did it make you feel about yourself? How did it make you feel about the person giving the appreciation? Now think of the last time you gave appreciation. What was said? How did it make you feel about yourself? How did the person receiving it feel? I cannot think of anything that brings more joy to someone than unexpected appreciation. I think it is what most of us are starving for, especially in the workplace. Appreciation is a strong motivator. It is a positive motivator and creates a bond between the giver and the receiver.
Great leaders show their appreciation to those that support and assist them. People follow those who appreciate and acknowledge strengths. This is one of the best ways to increase productivity. I once led a major computer upgrade where over 150 people were involved in meeting a critical deadline.
During the project, I would show my appreciation for work well done by handwriting a brief note of thanks to an employee. I would specifically state the situation I was appreciative about and say "A star for a star." I enclosed a gold star in the note. You can imagine my surprise when I started to notice gold stars hanging in cubicles. Some people actually said this was the first time they received a note of thanks from one of their bosses or peers in their entire career.
I believe this simple show of appreciation brought the team closer together and helped to make the project a success. It was like the movie ‘Pay It Forward.' People noticed how appreciation made them feel and in turn, voiced their appreciation to others on the team. Appreciation encourages returned appreciation. This project came in early and under budget. You can't ask for much more than that.
"Appreciate people. Nothing gives more joy than appreciation." - Ruth Smeltzer
Here are five aids to help you show sincere appreciation to those you value:
- Be Specific: Don't just tell someone they did a good job. Tell them exactly what they did: "Mike, I saw how you handled that customer call and I think you did a great job. Very professional.
- Be Sincere: People know when you are sincere and when you are not. You do, don't you? You must mean every word you say and it must come from the heart. If not, don't give it.
Be Public: Whenever possible, be public about your appreciation. Show your appreciation in a public way in front of team members, in front of others in management and in meetings. When we begin to do this, others on our team begin to increase the activities they need to earn this public appreciation.
Be Immediate: The effectiveness of appreciation is diluted if it is given too long after the action. Be quick to appreciate.
Don't qualify appreciation with a "but". As a matter of fact, try not to use "but" ever. Use "and". How effective is this: "I appreciate how you handled that, but..." versus "I appreciate how you handled that, and..."
"Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light." - Albert SchweitzerStep into leading and play a Bigger Game in your life...don't wait...model leadership...the World needs us to do this.
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