You remember the cheer. You remember the thunderous applause at high school games.
I’ve always known how important appreciation is. I often do appreciation exercises in my programs. Recently, I learned all over again how effective and meaningful appreciation can be. I asked the participants to bring a gift (of little or no monetary value) affirming that a colleague’s strengths.
A law enforcement officer received a toy gun with a heart inside. This man had clearly shown that underneath his uniform and toughness was a caring man.
A woman who never takes lunch was presented with a lunch box to keep on her desk. Inside was an alarm clock, set for lunchtime, with this message:
“Taking a break will increase your productivity. Enjoy!”
Another participant with a clear gift for mentoring employees was given a pretend tool box and Play Dough. The message said, “Thanks for helping to mold our future leaders.”
Genuine appreciation comes in all forms. A handshake. A hug. A thank you. A letter of praise. A symbolic gift. A chant at a ball game. The form doesn’t matter. Genuine appreciation changes lives.
If you appreciate someone, don’t wait for an excuse to show it. It may be a while before you can schedule that class with me.
2, 4, 6, 8…
Who do you appreciate?
Have you ever gotten mail or phone call telling you that you’ve won a cruise or timeshare? Likely you have. And likely you hung up the call or discarded the letter in the trash as ‘junk-mail’ without giving it a second thought.
Then again – if you had entered into the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes and got a call or letter saying you’ve won, you’d likely give it a bit more attention wouldn’t you?
…Why is this?
…This is because you know about this sweepstakes; you’ve heard about it for years and have continued to hear about how it has changed the lives of those who have won. In this case – you knew you were in the running for this award and the contest has credibility and importance in your mind.
Remember when you create spot awards for your employees – to do the same thing – make sure the employees know about it ahead of time; make sure they understand the importance of it and feel that it has some meaning and value when someone wins!
The next time you give out a spot award – remember to make it into a big deal. He might get red and be embarrassed but that’s okay. He will love it and everyone needs to hear it.
Of course you won’t mention the amount, just talk about all that he has taken on (literally name some of the work you know it). Talk about his “can do” attitude, his willingness to embrace change….etc. Make yourself a few talking notes before presenting it so that you know what you want to highlight.
The bottom line – don’t forget the balloons, the streamers, the ‘pomp and circumstance’ of the spot award. Build up the spot awards to be something that employees are excited about and strive to earn. This will go a long way to improve moral – and it’s fun!
Yesterday, I was meeting with a senior manager – we’ll call him Saresh – and he was telling me about a problem he had with one of his employees, Chris. Saresh told me that Chris hadn’t been sharing information with the team.
Saresh also told me about a number of other small problems dating back months and years…As we talked I realized that there weren’t a few problems, but a lot of issues; and they weren’t small, some were rather big and impactful.
When I asked Saresh how Chris handled it when he gave him feedback, Saresh said that he hadn’t given much feedback. Saresh felt it was always better to give positive feedback, so he never commented on the things that were going wrong. Not surprisingly, the behavior and problems continued.
We talked about how important it was for Saresh to sit down with Chris and address the issues. He agreed to do just that, but I had forgotten to tell Saresh, “Just a few at a time. Don’t overwhelm.”
So, Saresh sat with Chris and he noted a lot of the problems – some dating back as far as two years prior. This, as you can imagine, led to a complete overload of information.
What went wrong?
Think of how a body needs to be nourished. We need healthy foods day in and day out. Our bodies benefit from moderation and consistency.
Feedback is just the same. Many employees are literally starving for feedback. They want the positive feedback, we can think of it as the dessert, and they also want the feedback that will help them grow, perhaps the veggies. Employees benefit from consistent feedback in small doses, just enough to ‘digest’. This is the type of feedback that they can apply to make changes and streamline and improve practices.
An overload of feedback in one sitting is like Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s house. My body becomes overloaded and sluggish.
Have you even been overloaded or starved for feedback?