Appreciating Your Team When You’re a Perfectionist

August 4, 2014 2:03 pm Published by

I admit.

I’m a perfectionist.

There’s always one flaw.  Or, there’s one more thing to fix or finish.

It’s a part of who I am. And, because I focus on it for me, I also bring that same laser and cutting focus to my team.

Being appreciative to team members at the workplace

The more you are appreciative of the little things in your life and make it habit, the more it transcends to your relationships with others at work. For a long time, appreciation was not viewed as important in the workplace. However, research has shown that appreciation, more than recognition and reward, is what employees truly value.

A workplace lacking appreciation is one that is likely to breed cynicism, negative attitudes and unproductivity. Employees are more likely to be distrustful of reward efforts shown by management, and this can lead to a very toxic workplace.

But it doesn’t have to be so. Remember, workplace culture is a function of top leadership. As a leader, if you want to cultivate appreciation, it will start from you as an individual.

1. Baby steps

Big, grand gestures are the stuff of Hollywood flicks. Life is much different, and people react more to sincere shows of appreciation than grand, keys-to-a-new-car gestures. Besides, material gifts sometimes distract from the main intention of appreciation.

A simple “thank you” said with sincerity goes a long way in communicating that you value your employees. It can also be kind words of encouragement or heartfelt compliments that relay you value the other person. Start small and simple.

2. Recognize individual performances

Often, in an effort to raise motivation, you do something for the entire team – like buying lunch or giving out workplace swag (t-shirts, key rings, etc.). However, if you were aiming to recognize a particular individual’s performance, it just got lost in the group recognition act. In one fell swoop, your top graphic designer and two-weeks-in-the-job intern have been rewarded with the same thing: tickets to the movies. Guess how that graphics guy is going to feel?

To make team members feel truly valued, it is okay to recognize their efforts on an individual level with something that they really appreciate, and that does not necessarily apply to the rest of the team. Doing this requires that you get to know the person on a personal level. We talk about how it is important to make valuable relationships with external customers (suppliers, business partners, industry leaders), but your internal customers (employees) matter, too.

Of course, you don’t want to alienate the rest of your employees or look to be playing favorites, so, it’s important to make connections with all employees and look for opportunities to appreciate their specific efforts to the growth of the business.

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, by Drs. Chapman and White, identifies the appreciation “languages” that each employee responds positively to, and that can aid greatly your efforts to appreciate your team.

3. Lower your expectations

Part of the reasons we as managers/leaders sometimes give for not appreciating subordinates is because they do not meet the (sometimes high) expectations we have set for them. Having expectations is good, but high expectations breed disappointment and frustration. Lower your expectations. Especially if you know that you’re a perfectionist.  Your employees are human and if you provide them the opportunity, resources and culture that encourages and recognizes their strengths, they are more likely to come to work with “the best version of themselves” and utilize their strengths to deliver on the corporate brand promise.  Learn to be genuinely appreciative of the effort they put in, even if it’s not perfect, look past that to see the perfect effort being put forth.

4. Breed appreciation in the workplace

You’ve worked to become more appreciative of your employees. Yet, when it’s only coming from you, it can be viewed as nothing more than routine.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t take every opportunity to express gratitude to your team members for a job well done. But, if it comes from others, such as co-workers and clients, it can have a much greater effect.

So, when a client sends feedback sharing how they appreciated your IT tech on the other line for walking them through a software installation process, or when a co-worker from a different department lets you know “Mark helped me find transport to get the package delivered – he’s the best!” share it. Let your employees know their work has an impact not just on you, but also on clients and other co-workers.

Focusing on appreciation helps you become grateful for the things you have in life. With an appreciative attitude, you are less likely to take things and other people for granted. The happiest people in life are not those who have everything, but those who are grateful for what they have. When such an attitude radiates in your personality, it makes the workplace a much enjoyable place for your employees, and it rubs off on them as well. The result is a productive work environment that oozes gratitude and positivity.

Maria Elena Duron is a connector, trainer and coach. Small Business Owners that work with Maria Elena develop a profitable relationship building system, appeal to their brand advocates, and increase sales. Take the uncertainty out of how your personal and business brand delivers business – Get Your Checklist.

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August 4, 2014 2:03 pm

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