How Does Appreciation Impact Performance?


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With Administrative Professionals’ Day around the corner on April 25th, I want to take the opportunity to share the value of appreciation in the workplace. I also want to offer helpful resources and tips that you can consider for showing appreciation in your business.

According to Merriam-Webster, appreciation, is defined as:

“a feeling or expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude.”

I make a conscious effort to tell my team and my clients, “Thank you for everything that you do!” because I want to express my appreciation for them and their work.

Why is it important to show appreciation in your workplace?

The Harvard Business Review conducted a study that showed that employees or team members were

 
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31% more productive and increased sales 37% when they were happy, satisfied or appreciated

(Inc. Magazine, 29 October 2015)

 

Stephen Covey, the author of the bestselling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People felt so strongly about people’s needs for appreciation that he wrote:

"Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated."

This is also demonstrated in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. After the most basic human needs of food, shelter and safety are met, the next needs are belonging and esteem.

People need to feel and be a part of something - family, team or a cause they believe in. Esteem means that each person has the opportunity for achievement, to build confidence, to respect others and to BE respected by others.

In teams, rather than the traditional hierarchy structure of a formal corporate organization, it’s most important that each person on the team appreciates the others.  It’s not just the boss’s job.  Each person on the team plays a role in appreciation.

Everyone has their own way of feeling appreciated. The author of the popular The Five Love Languages, Gary D. Chapman, is also one of the authors of a valuable work-related book called The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, along with Paul E. White. The focus of the book is on empowering organizations by encouraging people. 

How do you like to receive appreciation?
How do each of your team members like to receive appreciation?

Chapman and White outline these Appreciation Languages:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Acts of Service
  4. Tangible Gifts
  5. Physical Touch - Don’t freak out; they describe how to appropriately interpret this for the workplace.

#1: Words of Affirmation - Words, both oral and written, can affirm those around us. Some prefer private communication, while others value being praised in front of others.

#2: Quality Time - People enjoy different forms of time: hanging out with co-workers, working on a project or community event together, or having someone take the time to listen to them.

#3: Acts of Service - Working alongside a team member on doing a task, or getting caught up after a wave of work comes in.

#4: Tangible Gifts - Paying attention to someone’s hobbies, interests, foods they like and buying a small gift shows that you are getting to know them and what they enjoy.

#5: Physical Touch - Physical touch in work-based relationships is often a spontaneous high five, fist bump, pat on the back or congratulatory handshake.

Which of these “languages” resonate with you? The book has an assessment and more extensive descriptions for how people like to receive appreciation.

Here’s a link to a sample report from the assessment: Sample Report

Why should you know which language is LEAST important to you?

Because it may be the language that is MOST important to one of your team members!

How could you be more effective in expressing appreciation for the others on your team?

First let’s clarify the distinction between appreciation and recognition.

Recognition is primarily about behavior. Another book I recommend to all my clients is The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard. Blanchard emphasizes the value of catching people doing something right.  This is useful for giving performance feedback, but it’s not the same as appreciation.  

Appreciation includes the person’s value, along with the performance they have contributed to the team.

We are not the only one contributing to our own business, even though we are the owner.

I know for myself, I cannot accomplish my goals without the support of my team. Each person plays a unique and valuable role. You know the saying, 

 
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“You can go faster alone, but you can go farther together”.

 

As a Coach, I am engaged one-on-one with people. Just like a Real Estate Agent, you are engaged one-on-one with your clients. However, to really support our clients to achieve their goals, we need a team to execute the systems that provide consistent and exemplary outcomes.

We need each other - it’s important to remember this. While each person has a specific set of duties, they are interrelated and dependent. Not dependent from a position of weakness, but like a beautiful and fun dance routine that entertains the audience, and each of us!

You are a reflection of what you think about. What you focus on multiplies. I would take it a step further to say that the quality of your experience in life is a reflection of how much you take the time to appreciate.

Take the necessary time to figure out what the ‘language of appreciation’ is for each person on your team.

You can learn more about yourself and your team members with the assessment tool from The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace here: MBA Assessment Tool.

Find opportunities to show appreciation.

We have an opportunity to celebrate this month. Wednesday, April 25th is National Administrative Professionals Day

For those people whose language is 'Words of Affirmation', I hope this speaks to your heart:

Here’s a big “THANK YOU” to all the Administrative Support Professionals for
EVERYTHING you do every day! 

We value and appreciate the dedication, loyalty, and depth of caring
you bring to the great job you do.  

Your work matters. 

You are part of the ‘secret ingredient’ that makes our team a success!
 


Want to find out more about how you can take your team’s performance to the next level? Click here to schedule a FREE consultation appointment with me.


Kathleen Metcalf