Appreciation at Work: Overview | Ways to Show Appreciation at Work


I was taking to a friend about the book and the project and he said: “I wish I could get that book to my boss.” He said, “I am so frustrated! I work hard. I do the best that I know how, and I don’t hear anything back positive. I only hear when I’ve made a mistake or if I’m late. “But,” he said, “on the good side, the silence is deafening. I hear nothing.” And he said, “I can’t take it anymore. It’s not about the pay. I just need a better place to work.” And he said, “I’m looking.” And in fact within three months he had moved to another setting and moved on. And it wasn’t about money. It was that he didn’t feel valued or appreciated. Another study that came out recently from the Society for Human Resource Management found essentially the same result for workers: that they feel like they’re not receiving any recognition or appreciation. But interestingly, managers feel like they’re communicating appreciation regularly. So something is going on. They’re missing one another. And we’ll talk about that. A friend of mine, who’s a very successful leader of a customer service team, talked to me about this issue. And she said, “You know it finally hit me that not everybody uses the same language. And, I knew that personally, but I somehow didn’t think about it in the workplace.” And she said, “I makes sense to me that people need to hear encouragement and appreciation in their own language that’s important to them.” It’s really important that appreciation is genuine, that it comes from the heart, that you mean it. So don’t say something that you don’t mean. I’ve had to deal with some different people, and they said, “You know, I don’t really like this person or I’m not sure what to do about this.” I always say: Wait. Deal with the issues. Don’t try to force your way though it. And then it can go better. I had a person tell me a story about how he really had a hard time with any kind of compliment. Because in the situation that he grew up, whenever he got a compliment, somebody was going to come with “an ask.” They were coming to ask him to do something else. And it was always about manipulation. So for him, he was really sensitive to people saying things positively because he felt like they were just trying to use him. We need to be aware of that. That what you say and do for people really is genuine. Let me give you an interesting story about a friend, when we were talking about The 5 Languages of Appreciation that he brought up that initially sort of surprised me. And he said, “Paul, what do I do if I don’t really appreciate my staff?” And he’s a long-term friend, and he’s sort of a joker and I thought that he was messing with me a little bit. But he said, “No, really! What do I do if I don’t value the people I work with? I’m mad at them. I don’t like them. You know, what do I do? Do I just sort of go ahead and communicate the appreciation?” I said, “No! That’s the worst thing to do.” You don’t want to act like you appreciate somebody when inside it’s not there. It’s our hope as you apply and use the information and principles that we’ve given you that you’re going to see really positive continued benefits in your relationships. And remember this: that people really do desperately want to know that what they do matters. And now you have the tools to help them feel that and know that they’re appreciated.

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