"A word of appreciation often can accomplish what nothing else could accomplish." ~BC Forbes
"Most people do not receive nearly enough appreciation. Appreciation is free, easy, and readily available? Go give some away now." ~Rhoberta Shaler
If you think back to the best boss you ever had, one thing I can almost assuredly tell you about them is that they made you feel appreciate for what you did at the job. Teams are made of human beings and we all need to feel like what we do matters, and the best way for a leader to handle that human element is a solid pat on the back to show your appreciation.
Similar to communication where I firmly believe you cannot do enough of it, appreciation is something that keeps reaping benefits as you heap it on. The main reason for this is that what you believe about yourself shapes who you become. This is true for yourself, your team and your neighbor down the street from your home. Showing appreciation helps shore up this belief in your team members that they can/do work exceptionally which helps with keeping high expectations and getting buy-in amongst a host of other benefits.
So if you haven’t been heaping on appreciation lately here’s a few ways to do so and a few tips for getting the most out of it:
Say “Thank You” – The simplest, easiest and often most effective way is a simple “Thank you” or “I appreciate what you did.” Yes, you want to build that into your regular routine at work with most of the tasks that are done (it’s just polite after all), but it is most impactful when you pull someone aside and have that brief 20-30 second heart to heart where you tell them how much you appreciate what they do. If you set a goal of doing that with every one of your team members once a month you’ll see spirits lift.
Tie their work to organization goals – Make sure your team understands how what they do impacts the organization. A lot of teams don’t understand why their work is important. It’s hard to feel appreciated when you aren’t sure your work matters. Talking about how the work your team does is vital to the organization and you will put some substance behind that appreciation you have shown above.
Talk about successes – One of the things I have noticed in my two decades in management is that we talk an AWFUL lot about our mistakes and where we need to improve. This is fine and constructive, but we tend to shortchange the other side of the coin; our success. Celebrating successes highlights the accomplishment and fulfillment of high expectations and this gives the person the rocket fuel to reach even higher expectations.
So if you aren’t consciously showing your appreciation for your team, I think it would be highly beneficial for the culture of the department, but also for the performance of the team to put a little bit of focus on that. Truthfully, there is absolutely no downside to doling out some appreciation.
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