Words Aren’t Enough

A major misconception many people have is that communicating appreciation is essentially a verbal act – saying thank you, giving a compliment, or sharing with a colleague why you appreciate them. So, when people hear the term ‘appreciation,’ many automatically think of words. The problem is: this is only part of the picture. Consider the following: If You Have to Use Words . . . While Words of Affirmation is the easiest language for most people to understand and use, they aren’t always implemented effectively. We have found that following a few simple tips can make a significant difference. To... Continue reading...

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November 28, 2022 9:00 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey: How to Show Appreciation at Work this Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (bombarded is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying thanks in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “Who is this person impersonating our supervisor?” card. The... Continue reading...

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November 14, 2022 9:21 am
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The 2022 Midterm Election

A Survival Guide for Talking about the Election at Work Well, here we are, on the verge of the 2022 midterm elections. The tension in the air is notable within the culture at large, on the airwaves and Internet, within families, and at workplaces. It is virtually inescapable. A number of factors combine to create a significant sense of uneasiness for most of us: So, the tension we feel is justified. What to Do? The behavioral options for responding to the angst we feel are almost as numerous as individual personalities. But there are five general responses, on a continuum,... Continue reading...

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November 7, 2022 9:00 am
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Coping with Change Is Easier When Staff Feel Appreciated

Change in the workplace is inevitable. Previously, change largely stemmed from response to external circumstances, like marketplace forces, or they were part of a larger institutional plan to create growth and improvement. But since the advent of the COVID pandemic, change seems to be the only constant in the workplace. Changes in the foundations of how we work and where we work are ever evolving and lead to uncertainty, anxiety, resistance, low morale and more, all of which can take their toll on employees. The good news is, managing reactions to change can be made easier if the change occurs... Continue reading...

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October 31, 2022 9:00 am
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Quiet Quitting Isn’t Bad

(it’s what’s underneath that’s cause for concern) The recent cultural focus on ‘Quiet Quitting’ is a fascinating study in social psychology and influence. Like other 21st-century social megatrends (for example, shaming), quiet quitting isn’t a new phenomenon. Rather, it is a set of behaviors and attitudes that have existed for millennia but have recently been renamed and given attention. Wikipedia (the ultimate authority of defining all things modern) states:   “Quiet quitting is an application of work-to-rule, in which employees work within defined work   hours and engage solely in activities within those hours. Despite the name, the philosophy of  ... Continue reading...

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October 24, 2022 9:00 am
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Are There Times When You Should NOT Communicate Appreciation?

Our business is built around encouraging leaders and colleagues to show appreciation to their coworkers and training teams to do so effectively. But there are times and situations when we recommend not communicating appreciation (or, at least, waiting). Sometimes, encouraging your colleagues is not the best course of action to take. In fact, doing so at the wrong time can actually backfire and create more problems. Here are some circumstances when you should reconsider whether or not to proactively communicate appreciation to those with whom you work: When a relationship is tense. If you are in a work relationship that... Continue reading...

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October 17, 2022 9:00 am
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Why Do We Create Versions of the MBA Inventory for Different Workplace Settings?

As we prepare to launch our newest industry-specific MBAI for Veterinary Clinics, we thought we would answer a frequently asked question. Why do we create industry-specific versions of our MBAI assessment? Here are a few of the factors that lead to their creation: Our goal is always to provide relevant, practical and easily applied resources to help team members communicate appreciation effectively to one another. We don’t want people who are taking the inventory to feel that it isn’t relevant to their industry or workplace. While our general workplace version of the inventory fits most office settings, some workplaces utilize... Continue reading...

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October 10, 2022 9:00 am
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Answers to Common Questions about Appreciation

When people are introduced to the concept of communicating appreciation in the workplace, a number of questions are frequently raised. Sometimes the questions seem more like a defensive response, with the individual putting up an obstacle that they hope will relieve them from having to take the topic seriously. But many times, the person seems to be thinking through how the concept would apply to their daily work life. So, let’s identify and address some of the most frequently raised issues. “I barely have time to get my normal, daily tasks done each day. How will I find the time... Continue reading...

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October 3, 2022 9:00 am
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What Can You do When You Really Don’t Appreciate a Coworker?

Let’s be honest, sometimes we have a hard time appreciating some of our colleagues. The reality is: some people are more difficult to work with than others. There are weird people; angry, irritable colleagues; people with a lousy work ethic, and those that aren’t friendly (gruff would be a better descriptor). And there are others we just don’t understand or click with. What can you do? Here are a few tips: Don’t try to fake it. Whatever you do, don’t try to act like you appreciate someone if you really don’t. Most people have very sensitive radar for when others aren’t being... Continue reading...

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September 26, 2022 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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September 19, 2022 9:00 am
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How to Have a Terrible, Awful, Very Bad Day (Guaranteed)

How to Have a Terrible, Awful, Very Bad Day (Guaranteed) Sometimes we focus on the positives in life – gratitude, appreciation, healthy relationships—and how to obtain (or maintain) them in our lives. But there are times when it can be helpful to remind ourselves of the habits and thought patterns that lead us down the path to having a bad day (or week, month or year!). Let’s take a brief look at the things that take us down the road to nowhere good, so we can acknowledge and avoid them in our lives. Our experience of life is directly related... Continue reading...

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September 12, 2022 9:00 am
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Introducing the New “Trades” Version of the MBA Inventory

Do you know someone who works in one of the professional trades? Carpentry, Construction, Electrical, HVAC, Insulation, Landscaping, Mechanic Painting, Plumbing, Remodeling, Roofing, Stone Mason / Bricklayer Just like every other industry, employees and supervisors in the trades need to know the work they do is valued by others. And, similar to many other work sectors, the ability to find (and keep) qualified team members is a tremendous challenge today. We have just completed the creation of the “Trades” version of our Motivating By Appreciation Inventory to help supervisors and employees learn how to communicate appreciation in ways that fit... Continue reading...

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September 6, 2022 8:45 am
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Making Others Feel Good Is Not the Goal of Appreciation

Sometimes, when business leaders first hear about the 5 languages of appreciation, their initial response is, “Work is getting things done. I don’t care how people feel about it.” My response is that, while I understand their hesitation, the goal of appreciation isn’t to make others feel good (though that is a nice byproduct). The real goal is to help create a healthy, functioning organization. This distinction is important because good employees are not easy to find, develop or keep. And business owners and managers are at risk for misunderstanding how to keep their team members. Many believe their employees... Continue reading...

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August 29, 2022 9:00 am
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Overcoming the “Weirdness Factor” in Appreciation

Feeling awkward about communicating appreciation among team members is normal. This “weirdness factor” is a common reaction when the 5 languages of appreciation are first introduced and teams begin to implement the concepts. It can feel particularly uncomfortable to speak words of affirmation to a colleague you aren’t used to talking to, or aren’t sure what kinds of words to use. What are common signs of people feeling “weird” about the appreciation process? Fear. Fear that others will think you are communicating appreciation “just because we are supposed to.” Fear that people will think your communication is not authentic or... Continue reading...

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August 22, 2022 9:00 am
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Are You Running Out of Gas? How to Avoid Burning Out

Have you ever run out of gas on a trip? From personal experience, I can tell you it’s not a fun experience. (Fortunately, the last time this happened to me was several years ago!) Similarly, experiencing burnout in life or at work is painful. The two experiences are quite similar and are ones you want to avoid. When your car runs out of gas, the event itself isn’t that bad – the vehicle just stops and you can’t go anywhere, but you can’t get restarted. The consequences that follow are what creates the disruptions in your life. First, you have... Continue reading...

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August 15, 2022 9:00 am
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How to Deal with Condescending Colleagues

By Paul White and Natalie Hamrick Spend any time in the workforce, and there is a high possibility that you will be made to feel “small” by a colleague talking down to you or devaluing your input. Taking some time, however, to understand what motivates condescension, as well as learning some strategies to combat it, can help make working with colleagues who tend to be condescending much more tolerable.  What motivates condescension? A person who is condescending in their comments toward others often: 1) wants to “win” the discussion, usually by squelching any dissent 2) uses the situation to boost... Continue reading...

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August 8, 2022 9:00 am
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Should Appreciation Be Performance Based?

A question I often hear when I’m conducting training for a business is: Should you show appreciation to someone who isn’t performing well? The reply you receive may depend on who is answering the question. Friction exists in the world of recognition and rewards, employee engagement, and appreciation. Differences of opinion are prevalent on the relationship between an employee’s performance and recognizing them. Should you recognize an employee if they aren’t doing well in all areas of performance? Is appreciation independent of performance? To address the issue, I think we need to keep two foundational principles in mind (and acknowledge... Continue reading...

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August 1, 2022 9:00 am
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Picking Up Cues that Your Colleagues Need Some Encouragement

You may be surrounded by co-workers that need to be encouraged and feel appreciated, and you may not know it. While some people ‘wear signs’ on their faces or in their body language that show they are getting discouraged or nearing burnout, many people are harder to read. They may not say much or have non-demonstrative facial expressions. Additionally, some of us are not especially talented at picking up clues sent out by others. Here are some clues that you can watch for to help you know when your coworkers may need a message of appreciation or encouragement: Irritability and... Continue reading...

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July 25, 2022 9:00 am
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Why We Do, What We Do, the Way We Do

Successful companies and organizations have certain core values and commitments that run throughout their corporate cultures and are often visible in the services they offer and products they produce. When you think about Hilton, Chick-Fil-A, Southwest Airlines and Mercedes Benz, you know what you will be getting as a customer. This is because they have worked hard to make certain priorities and behaviors a part of their DNA. (If you don’t like or have the same values they do, you choose an alternative provider.) Hilton and Mercedes Benz provide quality and luxury at a higher cost to the consumer. Southwest... Continue reading...

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July 18, 2022 9:00 am
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The Employees You Should Worry about Losing – The Average Ones

A disturbing long-term trend has been documented by research – that a vast majority (up to 87%) of the workforce is either not engaged (read: they are present physically but not mentally or emotionally), or are totally disengaged (they actually undermine the success of an organization).  This is in spite of the fact that over 85% of organizations have an employee recognition program (which obviously aren’t working). Don’t Focus So Much on Top & Low Performers A basic challenge in working together with others is that not everyone performs at the same level with regard to the quality and amount... Continue reading...

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July 11, 2022 9:00 am
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Four Steps to Ensure You Return from Your Vacation Rested

Summer has arrived. And along with the warmer weather comes the opportunity for summer vacations. Getting away from your home, your daily routine and responsibilities provides a needed mental break necessary for you to rejuvenate and re-energize. Vacations can provide valuable time for a mental reset that can be beneficial to you both personally and professionally. Unfortunately, we often come back from a vacation tired and worn down and needing additional time to recover from our trip. To help, here are some suggestions for getting the most out of your time off. The Four R’s Rest. Try to schedule your vacation... Continue reading...

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June 27, 2022 9:00 am
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Creating Harmony and Positive Energy at Work

A vibrant workplace draws people to it — quality, talented employees want to work in a healthy context. A vibrant workplace is the antithesis of how many work environments are described: negative, energy-sapping, and toxic to growth. In healthy workplaces, employees bring their own gifts and unique personalities to add to the synergy of a dynamic work setting. This is particularly relevant right now. Recent research by the Sloan School of Business at MIT found that during the recent Great Resignation that employees cited workplace culture issues as the reason they were leaving by a factor of 10x in comparison... Continue reading...

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June 20, 2022 9:00 am
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The Challenge of Apathy

Recently, I was speaking to a group of organizational leaders about workplace culture, and I asked them about some of the more challenging issues they are seeing. One leader responded: “apathy” — to which numerous others nodded in affirmation. They went on to elaborate: “Younger leaders are more passive” “They seem willing to live with the status quo,” and “They lack passion — they don’t seem to have any ‘fire in their belly.’” The senior leaders I was training were asking: “What do I do?” “How can I motivate a developing leader who doesn’t seem interested?” Unfortunately, this is not... Continue reading...

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June 13, 2022 9:00 am
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The Importance of Peer-to-Peer Appreciation

In the past, an employee’s relationship with their direct supervisor was found to be one of the most influential factors in whether or not the employee enjoyed their job. So, when we first started applying the 5 languages to work-based relationships, our early focus was on training supervisors and managers in how to communicate appreciation effectively to their team members. While this was a good starting point, we quickly learned that to focus solely on managers and supervisors was too narrow and not all that was needed. Although most employees like to receive positive messages from their supervisor, hearing encouragement... Continue reading...

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June 6, 2022 9:00 am
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‘Appreciation’ May Not Be What You Think It Is

When you hear the word ‘appreciation,’ what comes to mind?  The answer may vary depending on the context of the situation. When it comes to financial investments, you want your assets to appreciate – to increase in value (this is also true for real estate and even your home).  In personal relationships, we often feel compelled to communicate appreciation (that is, gratitude) when a friend or family member has done something to help us out, like helping us move into a new home, or bringing a meal when you’ve just had a baby. Even in the workplace, a person’s response... Continue reading...

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May 31, 2022 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Gifts

When comparing the various Languages of Appreciation, it’s easy to see that employees overwhelmingly don’t choose tangible rewards as the primary way they want to be shown appreciation. Only 6% of employees identify tangible gifts as their primary language of appreciation. And they also choose tangible gifts as their least valued language almost 70% of the time. This is important to consider because most employee recognition programs emphasize giving gifts. While there is obviously nothing inherently wrong about this, companies end up wasting millions of dollars giving gifts to employees that aren’t wanted and do little to improve performance. This is especially... Continue reading...

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May 23, 2022 9:00 am
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How Do I ‘Move On’ When Someone Has Offended Me?

Sometimes conflict at work arises when we feel we have been treated wrongly. This can result in our feeling hurt, embarrassed, let down by another, offended, angry, and disappointed. These responses are the result when someone’s actions (or lack of action) are in contrast to what we believe should have happened. That is, when our expectations aren’t met by others. Whatever the source of the conflict is, we cannot truly resolve it and move on unless we are able to let go of hurt, anger, fear, bitterness, and the other negative emotions we have. The process of letting go—that is,... Continue reading...

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May 16, 2022 9:00 am
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Appreciation Isn’t 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 23 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 9, 2022 2:50 pm
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5 Languages Spotlight: Quality Time

Many people assume that appreciation is always communicated verbally. While using words is one way to show staff members that you value them, many employees prefer appreciation shown through the language of Quality Time. In fact, Quality Time is the preferred appreciation language for 26% of employees in the U.S. (or, one of every four of your colleagues.) By Quality Time, we mean spending time with a colleague either by giving the person your focused attention, working collaboratively with them, or (for some people) just “hanging out.” You are showing that you value them by giving them your most precious resource:... Continue reading...

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May 2, 2022 9:00 am
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How Much Evidence Do You Need?

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut — and breaking out of it is difficult. Sometimes we get busy and put things we want to do on the back burner. And sometimes we’re waiting for more evidence to convince us. Well, friends, the time to act has arrived. Here are the facts on the current state of employment in the United States: Finding and hiring new (and qualified) employees is incredibly challenging. Recent research has shown that employees who are quitting their jobs are 10 times more likely to be leaving because of toxic cultural issues than for better compensation.... Continue reading...

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April 25, 2022 8:18 am
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