Appreciate to Bring Out Their Best

Dear Springboard:

I’ve been working really hard for the last several months and so has my team. We’re putting in the effort and getting solid results.

AND, not once has my boss said anything resembling a thank you or any other form of appreciation to any of us.

It’s discouraging – to me and my team.

What can I do?

Sign me,

Feeling Taken for Granted

Dear FTfG:

You’re raising an important issue and one I come across frequently with my coaching clients.

In today’s lean and demanding environment, most people I know feel overworked, stressed out and, too often, unappreciated.

Sometimes, it’s because the leader whose attention we want doesn’t feel the need themselves for appreciation and so doesn’t think to give it.

More often, I think it is because that person is so consumed juggling demanding responsibilities and putting out fires, it’s just not a priority.

So, here is a golden opportunity to build stronger relationships and boost engagement. To top it off, it doesn’t cost anything and it’s not hard to do.

Research has shown us the impact of negative messages and that people need 4 to 5 times as many positive messages just to balance the impact.

A simple Thank You. or Job well done. is a great place to start.

And, we can build on that and do even better.

We’re talking about acknowledgment – not feedback or a critique. Our message should be 100% positive. And, being specific adds greater meaning.

An effective approach is to appreciate not what they did, but who they are, and best yet to underscore a value that is important to them using a “You. . .” statement.

Just OK: Good job![Vague, task-based, past tense.]

Better: You were there with us every step of the way.[More specific, acknowledging this person’s dependability, past tense.]

Better still: We can really count on you. You are so dependable.[Touches on personal value, includes a You statement, present tense (now!).]

If you’re not sure how to start, let me suggest some steps to build this mental muscle.

Start with heart: appreciate what you have and those dear to you – feel some gratitude
Take time to reflect and appreciate yourself – it’s hard to give what we don’t have

With this refreshed perspective, open your arms mentally (or literally) and greet people by appreciating who they are – just as they are, now. Then, appreciate whatever it is they bring.

This is very much a Yes, AND.

And, if you are not aligned with what they are bringing (attitude, perspective, point of view), then redirect their attention after the initial positive interaction.

Rather than dismissing or rejecting someone or their ideas, welcome it as something to be considered as your starting point.

If you are aligned, go with it.

If you are not aligned, after you appreciate what they are bringing, offer an opening to a path you want to them to follow.

Receiving an acknowledgment is affirming – seeing someone for who they are in a way that is important to them.

Of course, we’re not limited to this practice at work.

What about those closest to us?

Move from intentions and get into action.

Find opportunities to appreciate loved ones.

You will brighten their day and yours!

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