Kim Harrison writes: “Appreciation is a fundamental human need. Employees respond to appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work because it confirms their work is valued by others. When employees and their work are valued, their satisfaction and productivity rises, and they are motivated to maintain or improve their good work. Gallup studies show employee recognition is the key factor influencing employee engagement, and therefore organizational performance.”
When was the last time you took the time to write a note or email of appreciation to a team member of yours? Or even shared this with them face-to-face (or via Skype/Zoom)?
For some leaders, this is difficult. Hopefully, the old-school thought patterns are fading away (i.e. “You get a paycheck – there’s your appreciation from me!”). Maybe some leaders are afraid that if they give this affirmation to an employee, that employee will no longer work hard to be successful for the company (this was actually said to me years ago). And then, some leaders have never had this modeled in their own lives.
But as leaders, it is critically important that we exercise this appreciation muscle with our team members. Here is what I have found to be impactful.
- Make it specific. Appreciate them and tell them why. What brought this on from you (especially if this is new for you)? Tell them what they did that caused this appreciation.
- Make it personal. Recognize the individual’s work. Don’t dilute it by being vague. If you would like more of what you are seeing in them, fan the specific flame in your appreciation. You will see that they will will be inspired to do more, be more (see above quote).
- Make it timely. Catch someone doing the right thing and let them know soon. It does not take long to write a specific, personal appreciation note/email. They will connect the dot from what they did that is bringing on this appreciation and your encouragement. Weeks or months later will not work. Appreciate now or very soon.