One of the top job satisfaction indicators is “appreciation”. Do you feel appreciated? How about the people above you and below you… do you express appreciation to them? As a leader you need to think about expressing appreciation and modelling appreciation. This action will have a significant impact on your teams morale and their willingness to go the extra mile.
It may seem counter culture to express appreciation to your leader but it is an effort well worth making. Often leaders can have a sense of isolation or distance between themselves and their teams. Leaders can also get fatigued from always looking out for and caring for their team members. When a team member expresses appreciation to their leader that can have a profound impact on the leaders thinking and support.
Appreciation is not pandering
Upward appreciation must be relevant and contextually true. If it’s not, then you are just trying to score points with your leader which is a waste of time. Good upward leadership appreciation statements might be:
- Thanks for guidance on this project
- I appreciated your insight on that issue
- Your direction was helpful
Peer to peer appreciation
Peers are often the best source of support and suggestions. Cultivating strong peer relationships is critical for success. You never know who you may end up reporting to or who may end up reporting to you. Mutual appreciation always makes these inevitable transitions easier. So, you need to develop a habit of expressing and modeling appreciation for your peer’s support and guidance.
Building strong teams and motivating your team members to go the extra mile is a core management skill and obligation. You can never express too much appreciation. Making it a habit to say “thank-you” for EVERYTHING is critical. The old school notion that the salary they earn is enough thanks is a joke. You should also enshrine the word “please” in your vocabulary. The best way to avoid having a sense of entitlement, and to make your team feel valuable, is the basic expression of please and thank-you. This is table steaks appreciation.
The next step is to find ways to express appreciation for specific attributes or unique contributions for each team member. I try and do this on a weekly basis. Your ability to think through and find creative ways to express appreciation will be directly proportionate to your success in building an ultra-loyal team.
Difficult team members
When faced with a sullen, negative, or lazy team member one of the first things to do is ramp up the appreciation effort. Trust me, this is really hard. But it is often all it takes to turn around the behaviour of a difficult team member. Of course, it won’t always work and that is when you need to pull out other management tools. But appreciation is your best and first way to engage staff.
Who do you appreciate? In what ways do you need to change how you express appreciation?