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Showing Appreciation



Showing Appreciation

Dr. Paul White

If you want to communicate appreciation to others that is perceived as authentic, we have identified four core conditions that need to be met.

Team members will feel valued when appreciation is communicated:
  1. Regularly. What is ‘regularly’? It varies depending on the work setting, the frequency of interaction between co-workers, and the nature of the relationship. (However, ‘regularly’ clearly implies more than once a year at an employee’s performance review, or when someone receives the “Staff Member of the Month” award!)
  2. Utilizing the ‘language’ and actions important to the recipient.* The key word is “recipient”. Most of us tend to communicate appreciation to others through the actions which we value – like giving a verbal compliment or sending an email. But not everyone feels appreciated in the same ways. Some people appreciate words of affirmation, while others are encouraged when someone helps them with a task. Spending time is another way to demonstrate support, like stopping by a colleague’s office to see how they are doing.
  3. In a way that is personal and individualized. While group-based recognition is a good start (“Way to go, team! Our client satisfaction ratings improved significantly last quarter.”), if the appreciation doesn’t relate to what the individual team member did to help achieve the goal, the communication will have no effect. Team members want to know that what they have done that is valued and noticed.
  4. In a manner that is perceived as genuine. If the communication of appreciation is not perceived as being genuine, nothing else really matters. Actions of recognition can appear inauthentic for a variety of reasons.  Here are a few of the most common: a) a person’s tone of voice, posture, or facial expressions don’t seem to match what they are saying; b) how a person relates to you in front of others differs from how they interact with you privately; c) the individual has a history of “saying one thing and doing another”; or d) there is an overall question of the motivation of the deliverer – do they have an ulterior motive?