The Appreciation Circle by Jim Johnson

Yesterday in my team’s leadership meeting, I had them experience the Appreciation Circle.  We followed these simple instructions:

1. Have the team sit in a circle so you can each see each other face-to-face.
2. The leader starts by choosing 1 person and saying something specific about why they appreciate them. 
a. “I appreciate Bobby because…”
3. Then the person that was appreciated picks someone else and does the same thing.
4. No one can be appreciated twice during this exercise.
5. The leader will be appreciated last.

There were only 5 of us in the conference room so this didn’t take long. I paid close attention to the body language of my leaders as we went through this exercise.
I saw and heard:

• Lots of smiles
• Laughter
• Eye contact
• Heads nodding in agreement with other’s comments
• Sincerity in their voices

After we finished, I shared with them my past experiences in conducting an Appreciation Circle and how it, in many instances, changed the dynamic of my team. We then discussed the following benefits of doing this with their own teams:

Benefits:

• It focuses on the positive.
• Chances are others will remark “oh, I feel the same way about _____, too!” 
• We may think our teams feel appreciated, but this exercise verbalizes it from many points of view.
• This doesn’t negate any personal improvements that need to be made by a team member. 
• This can bring your team closer together. 

My leaders and I had a very positive, encouraging session yesterday.  This exercise took about 15 minutes.  I then talked about the 2017 budget process that I was implementing.  We all left smiling.  I heard them say they would be trying this with their teams. 

Mission accomplished.

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