Categories for 5 Languages of Appreciation

How to Rebuild Trust When a Relationship Has Been Damaged

Trust is critical for any functional relationship—with our family, our friends, and even our work-based relationships. For life to work, we have to trust. The issue of trust—and mistrust—is powerfully relevant in our culture today. We hear comments about trust all over the news and frequently in personal conversations: “I trust that guy about as far as I can throw him.” Trust is essential to work-based relationships for many reasons: effective teamwork, collaboration with suppliers, smooth functioning of the organization to produce goods and services, better customer relationships and, ultimately, to obtain optimal outcomes. MISTRUST IN WORK RELATIONSHIPS There are... Continue reading...

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January 23, 2023 9:00 am
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Four Steps for a Successful 2023 and Beyond

Most people who achieve healthy personal goals tend to incorporate the same tools to assist them in moving toward their aspirations. These individuals commonly utilize four key skills to help their lives move forward in a healthy direction. But some of these tools are not valued or widely embraced in our culture, which makes consistently utilizing them more difficult. Four Important (but often Countercultural) Steps to Incorporate into Your Life Lots of lists exist which outline the “ten most important characteristics of leaders.” These are typically helpful. However, just as we can identify critical nutrients needed to be physically healthy,... Continue reading...

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January 9, 2023 9:00 am
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Overcome the Two Main Obstacles to Reaching Your Goals

Most of us don’t need new goals for the year. Really, we don’t.  But we do need to continue to progress toward our current goals (and, hopefully reach some of them). Additionally, we need to make some adjustments from the feedback we are receiving from “real life.” In working with highly successful leaders for over two decades and interviewing them about what they believe contributed to their success, two principles rose to the top: Most often, people don’t reach their goals because they give up pursuing them. And, guess what?  When you quit pursuing your goals, you don’t reach them.... Continue reading...

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January 2, 2023 9:00 am
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We Need to Rethink Holiday Celebrations at Work – Especially Now

To be blunt – end of year holiday celebrations have become a significant source of pain for a lot of people. Planning (and experiencing) these events creates a lot of angst and anxiety – to the point that many have asked, “Why do we keep doing them?” The answer is often, “because we’ve always done them before.” Even though, by itself, this is a rather absurd answer, it actually points to the real reason workplace holiday celebrations continue: expectations. And when expectations aren’t met, bad results follow: disappointment, complaining, negative comments, unhappy people, and lots of questions (“Why didn’t we... Continue reading...

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December 5, 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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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6 Reasons Your Boss Doesn’t Say Thank You Enough (or Ever)

Words of Affirmation is just one of the five ways employees like to be shown appreciation. And business and organizational leaders are constantly reminded how important it is to communicate appreciation to their staff — and it is. But sometimes a simple ‘thank you’ isn’t said often enough. When employees feel truly valued and appreciated, good things follow. Team members are less likely to leave for another job, complain and grumble, steal from the organization, or get hurt on the job. Conversely, they are more likely to show up for work (and on time), follow established policies and procedures, and... Continue reading...

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April 18, 2022 9:00 am
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Battling Disconnectedness and Chaos: Practical Steps for Staying Connected with Your Team

Connectedness has become a huge issue within our culture. The disconnectedness and loneliness created by the COVID-19 pandemic created massive upheaval in our daily social structure (working remotely, reduced social interaction with friends and family, chaos related to children’s education and activities). Our work life has been equally disrupted. Not only with arrangements related to remote, working from home and hybrid working issues, but our normal patterns of relating and communicating have been affected. When we see our colleagues, where we see them, how often we interact, the mode of communication (email, phone, video conference, text, in person) and the... Continue reading...

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April 4, 2022 9:00 am
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Understanding Employee Retention: People Are Loyal to People, Not Organizations

The Great Resignation which has occurred over the past two years is not just an abstract concept – it impacts our everyday lives. Lack of service (calling the customer service department of any major company results in a minimum of twenty minutes on hold), restaurants closing due to lack of sufficient employees, delays in residential construction because there aren’t enough tradesmen to do the work, wait times of months when ordering appliances – the list seems endless. Whether the pattern of continued resignations will continue is not clear. But it appears we have moved from the Great Resignation to the... Continue reading...

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March 28, 2022 9:00 am
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How to Get Past the Most Common Challenges to Creating a Culture of Appreciation

While creating a workplace culture of appreciation is fairly straightforward, a number of practical challenges also exist. Research has shown that teaching leaders and colleagues how to communicate authentic appreciation to one another can make their workplaces more positive. And the impact has been demonstrated in medical settings, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, multinational corporations, financial institutions and manufacturing firms. (Read the recent New York Times business section article* on the 5 languages of appreciation.) But, like trying to implement any change, obstacles can arise. After working with numerous organizations to implement the 5 languages of appreciation, we noticed some... Continue reading...

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March 14, 2022 5:35 pm
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Making Things Right When You’ve Messed Up

We all make mistakes. Sometimes inadvertently. Sometimes we did what we thought was right (only to find out later, it wasn’t). And sometimes we just make a poor choice – for whatever reason. Making a mistake at work, to many of us, seems more serious than ones we commit in our personal lives. A misstep at work affects others, makes us look bad to our colleagues or boss, and may have serious ramifications on our work status. The Challenge of Acknowledging Our Errors For some of us, acknowledging to ourselves that we messed up is difficult. While admitting we made... Continue reading...

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February 14, 2022 9:00 am
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The Different Faces of Workplace Conflict

Not all conflicts look the same. And sometimes we don’t even realize there is tension in the air until someone points it out to us (“Have you noticed how standoffish Julie has been to us since that disagreement in the last team meeting?”). On the other hand, some individuals perceive friction when it doesn’t really exist in the other person’s mind. For example, you may think someone is upset with you because they have been “cool” toward you, when, in actuality, they are not very interactive because they are concerned about their mother who is in the hospital. Let’s lay... Continue reading...

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February 7, 2022 9:01 am
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Qualities of Highly Successful Teams

Working with a team of very talented, capable and successful professionals can be exciting and rewarding, these teams can also present challenges. But there are factors that can make these All-Star teams incredibly impactful. Examples can be taken from many areas of life: music groups, sports teams, legal and political teams, strategic business partnerships. Unfortunately, many examples of ‘Super Teams’ that failed also exist – which leads to the question: What are the necessary ingredients for success? Ingredients for Highly Successful Teams *Team members voluntarily submit to a selected leader (or leaders). Clear, designated leadership is critical; although it can... Continue reading...

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January 10, 2022 9:00 am
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Heads or Tail (Feathers)? Successes and Failures – Tell Us About Your Thanksgiving Celebrations

Recently, I wrote about humor in the workplace and thought it would be good to put some of the principles in action. And Thanksgiving seemed like a good time to ask about and share some successes and “fails” people have experienced over the years. While the Thanksgiving holiday and giving gratitude at work are important, I personally have become a little worn down by all of the reminders to “be sure and tell your colleagues you are thankful for them.” (If you do want something in that vein, read this past entry from our blog.) Let’s agree that is a... Continue reading...

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November 8, 2021 9:00 am
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Your Blind Spot: Your Least Valued Language of Appreciation

By nature, we all tend to speak our own language of appreciation. If Acts of Service make me feel appreciated, then I will tend to pitch in and help my colleagues. If Quality Time makes me feel appreciated, then I may often go out of my way to stop by a teammate’s office and “check in” to see how they are doing. If Words of Affirmation make me feel appreciated, then you can expect that I will give use verbal praise to those with whom I work. If a high five energizes me and makes me feel appreciated, I will... Continue reading...

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October 11, 2021 9:00 am
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Build a Positive Relationship, No Matter Who You Report To

In the past, an employee’s relationship with their direct supervisor was found to be one of the most influential factors on whether or not the employee enjoyed their job. However, this dynamic has changed somewhat. Jared Lindzon, in an article about change and work, spoke to analyst Josh Bersin who says, “Most companies, even big companies, are much less hierarchical and much less top-down in their execution than they used to be. Leaders are finding that they have to be more inspirational, they have to be more collaborative.” In recent years, both the structure of work teams and physical office... Continue reading...

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September 20, 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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