Personal development focuses on gratitude, team development focuses on the act of appreciation.
7 minute read
If you have 10 people on your team, and only 2 feel truly appreciated? What do you have?
You have the average working team. That’s sad isn’t it? In one recent study, 79% of the people who quit their job cited lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving, and 69% of North Americans mentioned they were not recognized even once last year.
Team appreciation, the act of verbalizing one’s feelings of gratitude, creates a culture of positivity, excellence, camaraderie and cohesiveness. Best of all, it’s free!
As a leader, the most powerful tool you have, is to display and have your team members display appreciation habitually.
Sharing your appreciation starts with gratitude
So, you can be a grateful leader, but if your gratitude doesn’t convert into the acts of appreciation, it just doesn’t matter. (Did you hear about the husband who thought himself so romantic, that he almost told his wife that he loved her? He’s single now.) Higher levels of appreciation on your team makes everyone feel happier, become more productive, and be proud to be on the team.
As a leader, you might be focusing inwardly on increasing levels of gratitude in your life. That’s beautiful, but it just doesn’t matter. As you build up the courage express those feelings of gratitude, your team will become more confident, more energetic, and more productive. Appreciation, the act of sharing your gratefulness for those on your team, is the secret sauce for full on engagement.
If you could reinforce one thing you want your team to know, let it be your authentic appreciation for them.
Show them you really care, and they will never want to leave. Seriously. Only about 1% of you are going read this blog, and actually be up for the challenge of sharing your appreciation more regularly on your team.
So, are you up for the challenge?
Before you go out telling everyone “I appreciate YOU!” know that if it is not delivered sincerely, it still won’t be effective.
Let’s review how to articulate your appreciation so that it carries your full sense of gratitude.
Recognition and Appreciation are Different
Many leaders get the two confused, they are both closely connected and just as important.
We RECOGNIZE hard work. You did a fine job. You got results. Your effort matters. Here’s a bonus. But what happens when the work you do, doesn’t get the intended results? Do you stop telling your teammate that they matter?
We APPRECIATE people and their unique talent and skills they bring to the team. You are dedicated, serious, tenacious, a team player. I really appreciate it. Here, the teammate feels valued, important, a crucial part of the team in good times and bad.
Be the leader that takes team appreciation to a whole new level.
Have you ever worked on a team in a prior company where you didn’t feel appreciated?
We have all been there, and we all have a burning desire to not be there again. We want to be appreciated, and to share our appreciation and to really understand our value on this team. As the leader, you have the power to create a culture of appreciation that keeps on giving. When you appreciate others, they become more motivated to work because they FEEL APPRECIATED, and then they want to show their appreciation to others on the team, because they realize how good it feels. Let it be the gift that keeps on giving and be the leader that keeps giving it.
Understand the benefits of appreciation on your team
In neuroscience we learned that appreciation is associated with activity in the brain that deals with morality, reward and value judgement. One study shows sharing appreciation more led to a 23% reduction in stress (McCraty and colleagues (1998).
We know that appreciation increases your wellbeing and your relationships, but it’s easy to overlook appreciation in the workplace when we are tugging away full speed ahead. But think about what your team would look like with higher levels of optimism, happiness, better physical & mental health and an overall better life?
The value of appreciation on a high performance team cannot be understated because these benefits work in the workplace too. We can’t be a high performance team without gratitude and appreciation and we don’t want to take each other for granted.
Give appreciation with specificity and authenticity
Think for a second about which example you would rather hear yourself
“Hey thanks, I really appreciate that.”
“Hey ________, do you remember last week when I requested that document from you, and you mentioned that you didn’t have time but that you would try. Then you were able to get around to it.
I appreciate that you made that a priority so much because what that did was make it easier for me to come up with a plan that day to deliver to my client and he said he was impressed that we took such good care of delivering his request early rather than on time. So your work was really appreciated by him too, and I couldn’t have done it without you.
Your action really made me feel excited and relieved some anxiety that I had. I’d really like to take you out to lunch as a formal way of saying thank you, because even if at the time it didn’t seem like a big deal to you, it really was a big deal to me and my client.”
In conclusion, specificity in appreciation Involves:
Who did something?
What specifically did they do?
What was the impact of that action?
How did that make you feel?
How are you going to show them your appreciation?
Are you ready to raise the levels of appreciation on your team? Download our Free PDF Mindmap and log to help you strategize the best ways of showing appreciation on your team, and to share with your team to encourage them to share appreciation on their team as well.