You might be the one who needs to go first. Others may follow. Effectively expressing appreciation is good for the one, good for the group.
The “Language of Appreciation” is a tool to implement in your professional environment. The first step can begin with you, with your team, or within your department. We spend 40+ hours with the same people week after week. It can be easier to complain than to compliment. It can be easier to ignore than to include. It can be easier to keep your hands full so you don’t have to jump in to help. Expressing individualized appreciation takes effort and intention. It can help improve the way you feel about going to work on Mondays.
In this blog we will be wrapping up this 10 part series based on Gary Chapman & Paul White’s book, “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.” These are some of the highlights:
1. YOU matter. What you DO matters. A genuine expression of this message is impactful. Catch employees/coworkers “doing something right” that you would like them to continue. Recognize it. Appreciation is good for business (series overview).
2. Words of Affirmation can show up in two possible ways. “Praise for Accomplishments” is when we give specific praise for a colleague’s achievement. “Affirmation for Character” focuses on the inner nature of the person (Language #1).
3. Quality Time is about giving someone your focused personal attention. Some dialects are quality conversation, shared experiences and small group dialogue. This can look like empathetic listening, inviting someone along, or having listening sessions to share ideas (Language #2).
4. Acts of Service tips can include two aspects. “Serving Voluntarily” shows that you WANT to be of help instead of being forced. “Ask Before Doing” shows that you are available and have a desire to get your hands dirty (Language #3).
5. Tangible Gifts sends a powerful message of thanks. This does not include bonuses or pay raises. It usually look like food or small tokens (Language #4).
6. Physical Touch can be powerful or really awkward. Three variables to consider: the person, the type of work relationship, and the sub-culture. Some tips are to “ask permission” or offer before engaging in physical contact (Language #5).
7. Recognition is Not the Same as Appreciation: Many employee recognition programs don’t work. When employees feel valued, they are motivated to give the best of themselves regularly. Two benefits that result from this are a positive emotional climate and increased productivity (part #7).
8. Different Professional Settings: There may be no money in the budget to say “we value you.” A paycheck isn’t enough. Leaders have to find more effective ways to affirm and support colleagues in the workplace (part #8).
9. Overcoming Challenges: Expressing appreciation is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. It takes intention to express value to others effectively. Confront the barriers that make you resistant. Start with easy ways to implement appreciation (part #9).
Small actions of appreciation applied consistently have big impacts. You are the one who may need to go first. You may be the one to help make the work climate more positive. You are the one who can start to make colleagues feel valued. Using the tools in the book and taking the MBA inventory can be the first steps. Appreciation at work can help colleagues feel valued, teams be more productive, and organizations more successful. It can help improve the way you feel about Mondays. Appreciation at work is good for everyone.
Special thanks to the book’s co-author, Paul White. His comments to my blogs provided deeper insight. I am honored to receive the value of his wisdom in the development of this series. I appreciate you Paul!
1. Take the assessment to find out what specifically YOU need to feel appreciated. ($15 or free with purchased book). There are specialty assessments for school, medical, non-profit/ministry, military, and long-distance.
2. Buy: The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace (book)
3. Learn more by watching (videos)