Power in Appreciation
’Tis the month for turkey, gravy and gratitude. We will gather around our dining room tables with family and friends, enjoy some yummy food and take a moment to show gratitude for what we have good in this world.
Although the Thanksgiving feast and moment of thankfulness is a familial tradition for many of us, how often do you do this with your co-workers? Think about it. When’s the last time you expressed your true appreciation and gratitude for the people you see day in and day out, who aren’t related to you?
Dale Carnegie wrote in his famous book “How to Win Friends an Influence People” that one of our greatest needs is the need to feel important and to be appreciated. Feeling like we have value is as important to our survival as food and water. Yet we seem to overlook its importance and role in the workplace.
Consider the last time you were shown true appreciation for something you did at work. I don’t mean the standard “Good job!” that leaves you half smiling while still feeling like your efforts weren’t really valued. I’m talking about the ultra-rare, heartfelt, look-you-in-the-eye-while-everyone-else-is-watching type of moment where the boss or colleague tells you exactly what you did and the impact it had on them.
I bet you have one of those memories. Problem is, you probably have only one or two for all the years you’ve been working.
Science has shown that when people can connect on a deeper level with one another, our stress levels go down, our compassion goes up and our ability to work together is enhanced. Showing gratitude and appreciation is one of the best ways to get your team better connected.
Here’s how you do it: At your next staff meeting, go around the room and ask each person to identify someone in the room they’d like to recognize. It can be a personal thank you or even better, an acknowledgement for something this person did that caught your eye but was never mentioned.
For instance, one of my staff went through a bitter divorce. For a year, we all watched him day after day, struggle to come to work and act like all was OK. At our year-end offsite, in front of our entire team, I told him I admired his courage and heart to weather the course while going through something so difficult. To all our amazement, he teared up and hugged me and said he didn’t know any of us noticed. How many of us go through life feeling unnoticed and unappreciated?
In the era of tight budgets and limited funds, always remember appreciation and gratitude are free! A grateful email, a public compliment in front of the person’s boss, or a simple thank you note take but a minute to give yet their impacts are lifelong.
Back in August 2014, I came to work one day to find a small white envelope under my office door. It was a thank you card, hand written, thanking me for a recent speech I had given at a corporate event. It wasn’t all that monumental except for one thing. In all my years of giving hundreds of speeches, I had never once received a thank you card for my efforts. The message was simple: “Great job on your speech. You did us proud. Ira,” but its meaning and significance to me was everlasting.
In my closet I have a shoebox. It’s filled with memories and keepsakes from my children and family, all representing important moments and messages from my life. And in that box lies the one simple but powerful thank you note from Ira that represents a time someone took their time to appreciate me.
This week, make your team better. Show each of your people sincere appreciation for what they’ve contributed and what they’ve sacrificed. They will remember the wonderful feeling of being valued and you’ll see a team with less stress, more happiness and huge results. November 19, 2017