It’s a natural human feeling to bask in the afterglow of being appreciated for what you do, what you have achieved or just for being you. How often does it happen at work and how well is it done? To what extent do we take other people for granted? This post was prompted after hearing a wonderful example of appreciation for an employee at Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Appreciating others

Being appreciative is the unsung hero of great workplace cultures and as much about mindset as behaviour. It’s personal and positive with a motivational quality. It’s articulated with sincerity through words and shown through actions – to thank, show gratitude, acknowledge and recognise someone or something. It’s giving without expecting something in return with a natural dose of humility.

Facebook EmojisWe’re not always encouraged to see our fellow workers like our friends and family (who we tend to be better at appreciating). Social networks allow us to show our appreciation instantly through a click and a tweet. Facebook is about to release six empathetic emojis to expand its ‘Like’ button. But that’s a long way from the Enterprise Rent-A-Car example.

A culture of appreciation at work can enhance personal and team motivation, build relationships and contribute to people retention. It’s a no brainer for improving engagement and performance – if done well. The trite, over-used, lazy, box-ticking mentalities won’t wash with today’s employees fed up with a lack of authenticity and too much spin. We won’t find the depth of meaning we really want through the number of ‘Likes’ we get online.

Remote and flexible working patterns can be a challenge, so technology helps to some extent through collaboration and video tools. An increasing number of new approaches are appearing to tackle the challenge of waning employee engagement. An example is Impraise that enables real-time feedback.  Feedback

I still believe face-to-face is the most powerful way of showing appreciation. The strength of the relationship is a factor in how it’s received, although a surprise from an unexpected source can be as much a delight as from your best buddy. Sometimes it’s the body language that can seal the emotional slam-dunk from a well-delivered appreciation.

How much attention do you give to appreciating the people that deserve it? A deficit of appreciation will lead to your depreciation as a great colleague. Beware patterns of omission becoming engrained and negative perceptions solidifying.

Think about the last time you felt genuinely appreciated at work. What did the other person do that made you feel so good? Go and do that for someone else who you know will appreciate it.

Me, myself, I

(The following is an excerpt from ’10 Critical Attitudes of Exceptional Students’ that I wrote with Sam Herschberger of Undergradsuccess.comcontact me for a free copy).

Being appreciative is also an inner resource to manage your self well. It reframes opportunities, takes previous negativity and flips it to the positive. Appreciation helps you grow, because you can begin to understand where you’re able to improve your life, as opposed to playing the victim role and complaining.

Appreciate the journey. Our struggles are like no one else’s. They belong to us. And it makes no sense to compare. Show empathy for others and recognise their struggles are just as full of problems as yours. Success is not an overnight result. Play the long game and you’ll have much more fun.

Metamorphosis

Practice self-love – really believe in yourself, your gifts, talents, and strengths. Self-love isn’t arrogance – it’s healthy replenishment – and it’s okay to love yourself. You can’t appreciate others until you appreciate yourself. Don’t burn out when things don’t go according to plan. Be resilient. Keep an appreciation diary – capture the moments to nourish your self-esteem.

What do you appreciate that is going well for you right now?