The Expanded MBAI & Introducing the Senior Care Version

Identifying how each person wants to be shown appreciation is critical to be effective in encouraging and supporting one’s colleagues. Otherwise, team members wind up guessing or taking a shot in the dark, which can obviously lead to missing the mark. Over 285,000 individuals across the world have taken the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory which has helped them identify their Primary, Secondary and Least Valued Languages of Appreciation, along with the specific actions they value most within their Primary Language of Appreciation and from whom they desire those actions. The Expanded MBA Inventory builds off of the foundation of the... Continue reading...

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September 13, 2021 9:00 am
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Practical Steps for Reducing the Stress of COVID-19

This blog is the second of a two-part series written primarily for those who provide services to our senior adults (but is applicable to us all). In last week’s blog we discussed that stress is the result when perceived demands are greater than perceived resources. This week we want to focus on ways to cope with and reduce stress. Steps for reducing your stress Incorporating this model of stress is vital for successfully coping with the daily demands in your life and how you lead others. This model provides four different ways to reduce the stress we experience in our lives:... Continue reading...

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August 30, 2021 9:00 am
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Navigating the Stress of the Long COVID-19 Journey

This blog is the first of a two-part series written primarily for those who provide services to our senior adults (but is applicable to us all). Given the ongoing struggles with COVID-19, we are concerned about the health and well-being of all employees, and especially those who give direct care in difficult settings (medicine, schools, long-term care, etc.). To aid in this process we have created versions of our Motivating by Appreciation Inventory for these settings – most recently for those who serve in Senior Care. The action items for each language of appreciation are tailored for the unique circumstances and demands... Continue reading...

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August 23, 2021 9:00 am
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Making Appreciation Stick

A common question I am asked by those trying to help create a culture of appreciation in the workplace is: “How do we continue the efforts over time so that a real change occurs?” This is always an encouraging question to be asked because it points to the individual’s desire to really make a difference in their workplace rather than just “go through the motions” or do a “one and done” training event. Let me share five guiding principles that can help appreciation “stick” in your workplace: Utilize small actions over time. As a friend once mentioned to me, “Most... Continue reading...

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August 16, 2021 9:00 am
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How to Show Appreciation to a Large Team Without Burning Out

Each workplace setting and group of employees is unique, which is why the Appreciation at Work materials are designed to provide turn-key, practical resources to assist leaders and organizations in building healthy workplace cultures. But sometimes there are challenges based on the structure of the industry, limited budgets, or the size of a work group that need special attention. Overseeing large teams is one of those unique circumstances. One example comes from Jack, a manager at a senior care living center, asked: “I ‘get’ the concept of communicating appreciation to my team and the need to make it personal and individualized.... Continue reading...

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August 2, 2021 9:00 am
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The Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Staff Turnover

You already know that emotional intelligence is important in leader/follower relations. What is the importance of emotional intelligence among team members? How does your level of emotional intelligence affect your colleague’s intent to quit? How does your colleagues’ competency in emotional intelligence impact your decision to stay where you are or look for a new team, possibly at a new company? Keep in mind that emotional intelligence is a skill that enables you to recognize, manage, and influence emotions in yourself and others. As you know, people are emotional creatures. People are also inherently communal. Mix ‘community’ with ‘emotions’ and... Continue reading...

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July 26, 2021 9:00 am
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Should We Focus on “Mental Health” in the Workplace?

Since the COVID-19 virus appeared, the focus on the mental health of employees has increased significantly. And rightfully so. As a result of the pandemic, major social changes occurred in 2020: “stay-at-home” orders, tens of millions of workers shifted to working from home, children were educated remotely, we were required to maintain social distance from one another (and cover our faces with masks). Family and community relationships were hindered. The practical consequences? Isolation. Dramatic changes in daily life routines. Uncertainty. These tectonic shifts in our lives shook our daily lives to the foundations and created an enormous amount of stress... Continue reading...

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July 19, 2021 9:00 am
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Dealing with Pushback from Employees on Returning to Onsite Work

Recently, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, announced to the 137,000 Apple employees that they would be expected to return to work onsite beginning in early September – not necessarily full-time but potentially up to three days a week. Almost immediately, there was pushback from some employees who wrote an open letter in Verge stating: “We feel like the current policy is not sufficient in addressing many of our needs.” The issue is one that many companies are facing – divergent views and conflicting desires regarding employees returning to work in the office, at least on a semi-regular basis. More... Continue reading...

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June 28, 2021 9:00 am
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Neutralizing Negativity in the Workplace

Negativity is one of the most common, and deeply ingrained, obstacles to a healthy work environment. When working with front-line employees, supervisors and mid-level managers in a variety of industries, a frequent question I hear is, “What can I do to create more positive interactions in my workplace? People are so negative here!” At Appreciation at Work, our focus is on building positive, healthy relationships in the workplace, and we do this primarily by helping people learn how to communicate authentic appreciation, build trusting relationships, and relate to others in a respectful way. But we also have to deal with life... Continue reading...

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June 14, 2021 9:00 am
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Is Appreciation Just an American Concept?

I have had the privilege of traveling internationally to numerous countries to introduce the concept of authentic appreciation in the workplace. Fortunately, authentic appreciation and vibrant workplaces aren’t limited to certain cultures. They exist on every inhabited continent. (Our book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, has been translated into 27 languages.) Lessons from a Multinational Training Experience A few years ago, I had the opportunity to train the management and supervisors of an elite international organization in how to communicate authentic appreciation to their staff. Functioning within the tourism and hospitality industries, the staff (in one location) come from over... Continue reading...

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May 31, 2021 9:00 am
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Getting Leadership Onboard for Appreciation at Work

Whenever I speak to a group of employees, supervisors, or HR managers, inevitably I hear something like the following: “What am I supposed to do if our management team isn’t interested in appreciation? They are focused on achieving goals and the bottom line – they think communicating appreciation is stupid and a waste of time.” Many leaders aren’t opposed to appreciation. They just don’t understand what communicating appreciation really looks like in daily work life, what it isn’t, and what they can realistically expect appreciation to accomplish in their organization. In recent years, the emphasis has been more on employee... Continue reading...

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May 17, 2021 9:00 am
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How Authentic Appreciation Can Make You Less Busy

Busyness, especially unnecessary and unproductive busyness, is similar to the unhealthy rapid growth that can happen in plants – sending out new shoots (known as suckers) not related to the core growth of the organism. Busyness eats up resources (time, energy, money) for activity that may not be healthy for the organization or its members. As a psychologist, I’m supposed to know something about behavior change, and how to help people change patterns of behavior and habits. One of the factors that we know improves the likelihood of changing behavior is if the new behavior is closely related to an... Continue reading...

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May 3, 2021 9:00 am
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Toxic Workplaces Can Kill You (Really)

There’s a difference between a bad job and one that is truly toxic. A toxic work environment can seriously affect your physical and mental health, even to the point of shortening your life. Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, linked workplace stress to 120,000 deaths a year in the United States. You don’t have to work with heavy machinery, volatile chemicals, or in extreme weather conditions for your job to be dangerous to your health. Bad workplaces lead to bad health – and even death. When you work in a toxic environment, you face... Continue reading...

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April 19, 2021 9:00 am
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7 Signs You Work with a Toxic Achiever and How to Cope

Toxic achievers pose a serious dilemma for business owners, managers, and supervisors. On the one hand, they get the job done — quickly, and more successfully than their peers. So, their work production or sales numbers look great. On the other hand, they create major headaches due to the way they relate to others, their condescending attitude, and their propensity to frequently want “exceptions” to company policies and procedures. 7 Signs of a Toxic Achiever How do you know if one of your team members is a toxic achiever, or just a pretty good producer who can be irritating to... Continue reading...

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April 5, 2021 9:00 am
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5 Signs of a Toxic Workplace

From negative communication patterns to low morale, five indicators that your workplace is sapping your energy and mental health. Plus a new resource to help. The 2018 Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year: TOXIC. Not surprisingly, results from an anonymous survey that year found 52% of employees report they believe their work environment to be toxic. Unfortunately, the trend has not diminished. All workplaces have some negative characteristics, so it can be difficult to determine how dysfunctional your organization’s culture is. Does it: a) have a normal amount of challenges, b) display seriously dysfunctional patterns, or c) affect those within... Continue reading...

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March 22, 2021 9:00 am
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Learning to Appreciate Difficult Colleagues

What do I do when I don’t appreciate one of my co-workers? Some people are more difficult to work with than others. Human beings can be weird, angry, irritable, and aggravating. They can have a lousy work ethic, poor communication skills and negative attitudes. Appreciating these individuals can be even more challenging. Here are some tips on how to grow your appreciation for a difficult colleague. First and foremost, don’t try to fake it. Trying to act like you appreciate someone when you actually don’t typically doesn’t go well, and perceived inauthenticity will undermine any trust that may exist in the relationship.... Continue reading...

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March 8, 2021 7:35 am
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What do ‘mental health’ problems actually look like?

Frequent headlines in the news report “the level of mental health” among Americans is declining or “mental health issues are a primary concern” as a long-term consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. But what do mental health problems look like practically in our daily lives?  The issue may impact us personally, as well as our family members and/or our colleagues at work. Defining ‘Mental Health Problems’ As a psychologist, I often bristle at the use of generic terms in the mainstream media (and those who comment on the topics in social media) without really defining what the terms mean. One government... Continue reading...

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February 22, 2021 8:59 am
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The Need for Engaging, Relevant & Practical Training for Your Team Members

An organizational leader recently mentioned to me: “There is a huge need for quality remote training that is applicable to daily life. So much of what I see is ‘one and done’ – pure information without any practical utility.” As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting substantial number of employees who began working remotely and from home, “training” has quickly transitioned to an online, virtual format. The problem is: there’s not much actual training going on. What is mainly occurring is “transfer of information.” This, by itself, rarely results in changes in behavior. Let me take you... Continue reading...

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February 8, 2021 9:00 am
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Is Your Workplace Becoming More Toxic?

During the challenging times of COVID-19, and working from home (WFH), it has been difficult to keep connected with your colleagues. In addition to not seeing one another regularly, numerous adjustments have had to be made regarding how to conduct meetings, effective ways of communicating, and decision-making processes – all of which have contributed to the complexity of working together. When you add the stressors we have to cope with from outside of work – health concerns for ourselves and our family, childcare issues, the ever changing landscape of schooling, restrictions on travel, inability to visit family members in senior... Continue reading...

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February 1, 2021 9:00 am
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Appreciation is Making a Difference: Here’s Where

Over the past 10+ years, we have been diligent in investigating the concept of appreciation in the workplace from a variety of perspectives. Our goal is always to provide accurate, helpful and practical information and insights for applying appreciation to our daily work lives.  We strive to conduct high quality research and present valuable findings, but we realize if the information obtained isn’t understandable and applicable to the challenges of daily life, the results have limited value. As a result, we have written and published numerous articles (and created videos) exploring a wide range of topics, questions, and differences in... Continue reading...

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January 19, 2021 9:00 am
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The Most Important (Countercultural) Steps for Making 2021 a Success

Individuals who do well in life commonly utilize four key skills to help their lives move forward in a healthy direction. That is, people who achieve healthy personal goals tend to incorporate the same tools to assist them in moving toward their aspirations.  Unfortunately, some of these tools are not valued or embraced in our culture, which makes consistently utilizing them more difficult. Yes, believe it or not, we need to acknowledge that some of the beliefs and values of the majority Western culture are actually not helpful to us in living our lives well. Four Important (but often Countercultural)... Continue reading...

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January 4, 2021 9:00 am
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The Grinch Who Hated Appreciation at Work

This year’s holiday season will be different in many ways. But we thought you might enjoy a look back at what employees love and hate about celebrating the holidays in the workplace. There’s an even a link in the post sharing readers’ stories of their best and worst memories.

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December 14, 2020 9:00 am
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How To Give Thoughtful Employee Gifts This Holiday Season

One of the more anxiety-inducing activities around the holiday season is trying to determine if you should give a gift to those with whom you work—colleagues, supervisors, managers, and direct reports. If you do decide that you want to give an employee gift, the practical issue becomes: “What should I give them?”  While some may think giving employees’ gifts isn’t valued in the workplace, many find these small tokens of appreciation go a long way. Businesses spend billions of dollars on recognition rewards every year in hopes of creating a better employee experience and even increasing their bottom line, but... Continue reading...

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December 7, 2020 9:00 am
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Sync or Swim: A light read about working together during a crisis

Holidays are a great time to enjoy some light reading. But we are also in the midst of difficult circumstances – working from home, team members spread out, and financial challenges. Sync or Swim fits into both these categories. Through a fun, story format, you’ll read about various personality types and how they often respond to stress, and you’ll learn practical ways to “pull your team together.” (And it is a great way to introduce friends, family and colleagues to the 5 languages of appreciation.) Humans are hard-wired for a story and fables cut through complexity to reveal simple wisdom.... Continue reading...

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November 30, 2020 9:00 am
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Thinking Ahead: Ways to Avoid a Thanksgiving “Downer”

Thanksgiving is coming up next week and the holiday has been in the news due to the impact the COVID-19 virus is having on our lives. I will leave the practical suggestions on how to make a holiday gathering safe to the medical experts (for those of you who choose to get together with family and friends). I want to present some thoughts and suggestions that you should consider before planning your holiday celebration — in hopes of helping you think clearly about the options you are considering and giving you ways to avoid experiencing a depressing Thanksgiving Day. First,... Continue reading...

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November 16, 2020 9:00 am
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The 2020 Election – A Survival Guide for Talking about the Election at Work

Well, here we are, on the verge of the long anticipated (and for some, dreaded) 2020 elections. The tension is thick in the air – within the culture at large, on the airwaves and Internet, within families, and within workplaces.  A number of factors combine to create a significant sense of uneasiness for most of us:   -the unpredictability of the results   -the strong feelings many have related to the issues intertwined with the election   -fears about potential violence and destruction of property after the election   -concerns about how the results of the elections will impact our... Continue reading...

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October 29, 2020 3:10 pm
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Building and Rebuilding Trust at Work

The issue of trust – and lack of it – is a common topic in our current culture. Comments can be found in any news medium and frequently in personal conversations. “I don’t trust him.” “They aren’t trustworthy.” “Big organizations can’t be trusted.” The reasons why there seems to be an epidemic of lack of trust is a complicated discussion, in and of itself. Partly, because many people and organizations have shown themselves not to be trustworthy. First, we must understand what trust really is, then we can consider and respond correctly to relevant situations. It is Not as Simple... Continue reading...

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October 26, 2020 9:00 am
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Resources for Building Healthy Teams

Dr. Paul White and the Appreciation at Work team have been creating and publishing some new resources to help create healthy workplaces, especially for use in the midst of this difficult time of having team members working remotely (and from home), some working on-site, and others working in a hybrid model (some from home, some at the workplace).  This creates challenges in developing and maintaining healthy work relationships. Dr. White recently completed research with a national sample of remote employees and the results were summarized in an interview with Psychology Today‘s Hope and Resilience writer, Dr. Jamie D. Aten. The... Continue reading...

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October 12, 2020 9:30 am
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The Easiest Way to Encourage and Support Others: Use Your Words

The easiest way to positively impact your colleagues is to tell them what you value and appreciate about them. While supervisors and managers often try to use words to encourage their team members, their efforts often don’t “hit the mark.” Fortunately, using our words to communicate encouragement is easily done – whether you (or your coworkers) are working from home or onsite. We have found that following a few simple tips can make the use of words more effective in showing appreciation and encouragement to colleagues (and help you avoid some common errors, as well). To be most effective, words... Continue reading...

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October 5, 2020 9:00 am
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