The Power of Praise & Appreciation
Praise & appreciation might be hands down - one of the most powerful practices we can engage in as leaders. I'm talking genuine praise - when someone has done something that deserves acknowledgement and thanks.
We know how it feels to receive praise ...
Receiving praise gives us the motivation to keep on going better than before. It is a clear message that others have noticed what we do and that it makes a difference. That wonderful feeling that we're being valued for what we do, gives us a spring in our step and encourages us to do more of the same thing, and better!
Without a doubt, praise impacts people in a positive way. It can also create a culture within your team or workplace of appreciation.
As a leader, genuinely praising people is a simple yet powerful strategy that you want to master.
According to Stone & Heen (2015) appreciation is fundamentally about relationship and human connection. At a literal level it says, "thanks." But appreciation also conveys, "I see you," "I know how hard you've been working," and "You matter to me." They go on to say that when people complain that they don't get enough feedback at work, they often mean that they wonder whether anyone notices or cares how hard they're working. They want appreciation.
It gives people a sense of ownership and belonging in their place of work
It lets someone know that their work is valued and appreciated
It increases motivation
It enhances loyalty
It helps build a supportive work environment
It encourages people to go above and beyond what is expected of them
It propels them to do more of the same thing
It feels good to make someone else feel happy
'Praise and encouragement: the two essential elements of motivating any person to fulfill their potential, to improve, or to tackle change.' Dale Carnegie
The ‘Appreciation At Work’ team, led by Paul White, analysed responses of over 55,000 employees who took the Motivating By Appreciating Inventory. What they found was that both older and younger generations valued Words of Appreciation and Quality Time the most, and Tangible Gifts the least. The biggest difference appeared not in the type of appreciation they favoured, but HOW they preferred the language of appreciation to be shown. “The one thing that is foundational for successfully conveying appreciation in the workplace is to communicate in the appreciation language that is desired by each individual.” (White, 2018) For more in-depth information on this see ‘The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace’ (Chapman & White)
Be Sincere, Be Truthful, Be Specific
Here are some points about praising & appreciating ...
Deliver praise from the heart - be sincere
It needs to be viewed as authentic by the recipient
Deliver praise as soon as possible - seize the opportunity to amplify the joy
Make praise specific - a simple thank you is not praise; it is politeness. People need to know exactly what you valued in their effort
Praise doesn't always need to be verbal; an email, a post it note or a card with a thank you message can be well received
Recognise the little things as these are often the acts that make the workplace function effectively
For recognition and appreciation to be valuable it needs to be regular, and in the language most important to the team member.
It is most effective when it is about them personally
An example might sound like this... "Thank you so much for ordering those signs for us. I realise it would have been really time consuming and I appreciate the fact that you invested your time in it. You've saved me a big job and a whole lot of time. They look fantastic thanks to your creative flair!"