As human beings, we all have a need to feel appreciated in one way or another. The challenge that often occurs in the workplace with leaders of teams is not that they don’t understand the importance and value of appreciating team members, but rather that they don’t understand that each team member values recognition and appreciation in different ways. Showing appreciation is indeed a good way to keep the morale of a team high, but showing the wrong kind of appreciation or appreciation that leaves team members feeling indifferent or uninspired doesn’t do much to help.
As Stephen Covey once said, "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." If you only lead a handful of folks, it’s quite easy to individually learn what each person’s appreciation language looks like. If you lead a large number of people, where it’s impossible to know each and every one’s appreciation language, I encourage you to poll a few members of your team. Find out what is the most important thing they could receive, that would make them feel appreciated and then adopt the top 5 or so as general things you incorporate into appreciating the team as a whole. Chances are, you would have picked on things that connect with the majority.
It is also important to remember to be consistent in your level of appreciation of team members. A good performance yesterday that won your praise, should also be a good performance tomorrow. Nothing drops the morale of a team faster than a leader who shows inconsistency in their appreciation of team members. Remember that you strengthen your team, their enthusiasm, morale and ultimately productivity by paying more attention to the varying ways that individuals value appreciation and recognition.
About the Author:
Sylvia Baffour is one of the most sought-after speakers and trainers in the fields of college planning, professional and self-development and leadership. She is co-author of How to Be a Super Achiever a book that provides readers with useful strategies for unleashing their own success. She is also the creator of the Leaping Beyond BarriersTM Training System which focuses on helping people and organizations to move out of their own way and in the direction of improving their outlooks, performance, innovation, and results.
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