Why Appreciation Matters So Much in Business and in Life
By Growth Coach and Author Jackie Jarvis
I have just come back from one of my team coaching sessions where we started the session by reviewing what each person felt particularly proud of achieving during the last month. The team had been feeling stressed because they had all had a tough month. After each person spoke I encouraged the MD to add in what he appreciated in each person and, before long, each of the members of the management team were joining in. The energy in the room completely changed. The positive vibe was contagious.
There is often nothing more precious that the feeling that we really do matter and that our contribution is valued. Recognition is not always just about the money we earn, bonuses or staff benefits. It can be about feeling like you are seen and heard.
Many people have full on stressful lives outside of the workplace and their jobs can be the place where they feel like they can make a different kind of contribution. If this contribution goes unrecognised for long periods of time it can affect motivation and morale.
Feeling genuinely appreciated gives people a lift
Feeling genuinely appreciated gives people lift. This lift can provide the energy and motivation that drives people’s best work. Feeling that it doesn’t matter how hard you work or what you do, nobody even sees or cares will drain energy and divert attention from creating value in any organisation.
Appreciation and recognition are consistently listed as one of the top desires of employees across the globe.
So why, if it matters so much, do many find it so hard to express this appreciation at work?
Is it something that can seem awkward, uncomfortable, or worse hard to do without it sounding false.
Is it that, we are all in so much of a rush to achieve the next thing on our agenda, that we forget to pay attention to the efforts of those that are essential to the journey and essential to our well-being. This can apply to our home life as well as our business life.
It may be that many people are not fluent in the language of appreciation, of sharing and expressing positive emotions. Maybe it is like a muscle that, having been long underused, has grown weak. Many people can be more experienced at expressing negative emotions and pay more attention to what is wrong as opposed to what is right. They may not even notice the impact that has over time on the people they work with.
So, what are the practical steps you can take as a business owner, partner, manager, member of a team to focus on appreciation to build a feeling of wellbeing, motivation, and trust in your place of work
The more you work at these 5 steps the better it will get. Think of it like building a muscle. The more exercise it gets, the stronger it becomes.
Five Practical Steps
1. Appreciation starts with YOU
If you have difficulty openly appreciating others, it’s likely you also find it difficult to appreciate yourself. Take a few moments at the end of each day to ask yourself this simple question: “What do I feel proud of today?” What do I appreciate in myself? This will start to build an awareness of appreciation.
2. Start noticing what others are doing right
Think about what the people you have around you in your life and work that contributes to your well-being and success at work. Write things down. Think about how the things they do help you. Just by noticing it will help build awareness.
3. Be specific and tell people what you appreciate and value
Be more specific about what you appreciate and value.
If you notice things that are meaningful to the person, the more positive your impact will be. If you know that they take great pride in something specific and it helps, lets them know. If they do something particularly well and it helps you, tell them.
My assistant, Abigail, is good at following detailed technical instructions and I am useless at it. I regularly tell her how much I appreciate her ability to do this. I tell her that she makes me feel safe – which she does. I also always thank her for her work each time she comes in.
4. Handwrite a note of appreciation
If you get the opportunity, just leave a short hand-written note on a post-it on a piece of work. It may just say thanks for this really appreciate it. It could take you a few seconds to do but will light up that person’s day.
5. Say 'thank you' more
These are small simple words but are words that have a big IMPACT on the receiver. Just notice and get used to saying it – verbally, in an email, in a note. The more you say it the easier it will get and the better you will feel about yourself.
Make the first move
Maybe we’re all needier than we like to admit. Being authentic in your appreciation will not only increase your own feeling of wellbeing, it will increase the likelihood that the people you have in your business investing more with you. This applies to team members, partners, and clients. The law of reciprocity is a powerful one – what you give you get back.
So, go and give some appreciation and watch the magic happen.
Make the first move.
Want help building a Culture of Appreciation in your Business?
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