Each of us has probably, at some time or another, felt the effects of appreciation in our life. It generates a marvelously giddy feeling of self worth and creates a human connection to others that encourages us towards even more collaborative relationships. As a leader, it is important to give appreciation because it enhances self-esteem for both giver and receiver and creates a human connection. One reason why appreciation is powerful is that, “I appreciate you” is very different than, “thank you.” While many of us were taught to say please and thank you whether we wanted to or not, because it is polite, we often do it automatically. An appreciation, however, is special, intimate and should always be given thoughtfully.
According to Jack Canfield, in The Success Principles, “A state of appreciation is one of the highest vibrational emotional states possible.” Sadly, while appreciation is a wonderful thing to receive, how often do we give it back to others and practice it ourselves? How often do we use the power of appreciation?
As a leader, giving appreciation can be awkward and a bit stilted at first but gets easier with practice. Giving appreciation is necessary anytime, all the time. It’s best sooner than later. Set aside some time for appreciation, especially during:
- Staff meetings
- Off-site meetings
- Peer reviews such as walkthroughs and inspections
- Coaching sessions
- Performance reviews
At some level, each of us wants to feel appreciated. A recent poll of 64,304 employees at companies that are clients of Sirota Survey Intelligence, including 8,000 in Canada, showed that the top three expectations of people of all age ranges is that they will be treated with respect, dealt with equitably and will gain a sense of connection with the organization on a work and personal level. Showing appreciation is an easy and powerful way to deliver on these expectations.
Some of us may have difficulty accepting a sincere appreciation. Be respectful of that, and know that you may be surprised by the reaction you get when you offer an appreciation. In a group, avoid the temptation to lump everybody together as in, “I appreciate everybody.” The intention may be good, but the effect is watered down.
As a leader, you can set an example for others to follow by expressing your own appreciation and making time as suggested above for your team to do so. Once appreciation takes hold things may never be the same on your team! Just by the power of appreciation.