Categories for 5 Languages of Appreciation

Early Warning Signs of a Toxic, Sexist Workplace (like Apple?)

Apple has recently come under bombastic attacks as a result of recently leaked emails describing a less-than-healthy work environment.   The behaviors described almost seem from an era from the last millennia, rather than in a company that has been viewed as a leader into the 21st century. Outsiders may wonder: Are these reports really true?  How could these types of attitudes grow and exist in the context of progressive, well-educated professionals working together? The answers? Probably, and easily.  Just like mold can grow rampantly in a high tech, green, newly constructed physical work space (when the conditions exist and continue... Continue reading...

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September 27, 2016 3:18 pm
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No One Is An Island In The Workplace

When I discuss the topic of appreciation with leaders, sometimes they mention employees who reject the notion. For example, someone in their organization will say: “I don’t need appreciation from others. I am self-motivated.” Or, they make comments that imply, “This appreciation-stuff is a bunch of hooey.” However, on closer examination, I have found that this resistance often reveals a different mindset that needs to be addressed. Some people equate the term “appreciation” with receiving verbal praise from others. Yet, there are individuals who don’t value positive words from others, because it’s not an important form of communication to them for... Continue reading...

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August 15, 2016 3:06 pm
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Do You Have a Colleague Who is Easily Offended?

Not everyone feels appreciated in the same way. The more often we communicate appreciation in the ‘language’ and specific actions preferred by our colleagues, the more likely we are to ‘hit the mark’ in truly encouraging them and helping them feel valued. As we have trained thousands of employees in the concepts of authentic appreciation (both directly and through our Appreciation at Work Certified Facilitators) we have found that: A person’s primary language of appreciation is often the language in which they are most easily offended! So if you have a colleague or supervisor who seems to get upset easily... Continue reading...

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July 23, 2016 12:23 pm
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Getting Personal: Appreciation & Father’s Day

Typically, I address work relationship issues in my posts.  Today, however, I want to cross over into the personal realm a bit because the 5 languages of appreciation do have a direct connection to Father’s Day.  While the 5 Love Languages clearly and effectively address how to communicate love to the fathers in your life (your dad or stepdad, your husband, brothers), many may find communicating appreciation to these dads easier than conveying “love”.  So let me give some suggestions on different ways to show appreciation for the dads in your life, based on what we know about the 5... Continue reading...

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June 15, 2016 10:55 am
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How Appreciation Builds Resiliency

The U.S. government and all branches of the armed forces have identified the development of resiliency as a key goal to strengthen our military personnel over the long term. As a result, for the past 10 years both research and resources have been focused on determining how to make service members more able to “bounce back” after experiencing stressful and/or traumatic events during their service. Much research and emphasis has been focused on identifying individual characteristics, coping skills, and environmental factors that can help servicemen and women: a) become more prepared to manage the stressful events experienced in life; b)... Continue reading...

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May 18, 2016 1:38 pm
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The Battle between Positive and Toxic Workplaces

An interesting juxtaposition has developed — the simultaneous focus in the world of work on toxic workplaces and creating positive work environments. Our book on toxic workplaces and the subsequent training we created on how to avoid becoming a toxic workplace (or survive one you are currently in) are growing in popularity and interest.  And I am asked more and more to speak to professional associations and write on the topic. At the same time, there is a growing body of literature on how to create a positive workplace environment (sometimes labeled as workplace culture or climate). One might mistakenly... Continue reading...

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May 10, 2016 8:32 pm
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The Dilemma of Physical Touch & Appreciation in the Workplace

“Physical touch in the workplace-to show appreciation? Really?” is one of the most common responses we get from some participants when training groups in the 5 Languages of Appreciation. I was in the midst of posting this article when a friend forwarded me this video aired by NBC Nightly News about Chobani Yogurt, where the owner is sharing ownership of the company with his employees.  But the video also shows Mr. Chobani hugging his employees and the piece ends with the statement: “where the money means a lot but being appreciated means even more”. Using physical touch to communicate appreciation... Continue reading...

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April 28, 2016 12:00 am
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Cutting Through Cynicism with Authentic Appreciation – Part II

Last week we asked the questions: Who determines authenticity? Is authenticity based in reality or perception? What causes people not to believe others are genuine? Today’s post will answer these and shed some light on how to improve a cynical workplace. Common Reactions Some work settings seem to just “ooze” cynicism, sarcasm, and a lack of trust. Probably the most intense cynical environments I’ve experienced recently are medical settings and hospitals. Why might this be? It appears that leadership in many of these institutions have tried to communicate recognition and praise, or have done training on “How to build a positive team”, and... Continue reading...

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April 6, 2016 3:38 pm
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5 Ways to Communicate Appreciation in Networking

Communicating genuine appreciation has been on my mind lately. And, it’s a good thing since I appreciate any opportunity to focus on the good and the good things that come from connecting with other people. In networking with others, it is about forming friendships and alliances.  It is about seeing who is a good fit with your values, your business and your business goals. Realistically we know that good networking takes work. When someone’s taken the time to meet with you, converse with you or carry a conversation further than a mixer, how do you communicate appreciation in a way... Continue reading...

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March 10, 2016 7:00 am
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An Antidote For Disengagement: Being Appreciative For Your Job

Gallup reported on January 13 that only 32% of U.S. employees are actively engaged in their work from a mental, emotional and volitional (a choice of the will) point of view.  Conversely, 50.8% of employees were found to be “not engaged” and 17.2% are “actively disengaged”.  This latter group is a dangerous one — they are actually actively working at cross-purposes with their employer, doing things to make things worse in their workplace. Much of the blame for this sad state in our work environments is being placed fully and solely on the shoulders of supervisors, managers and employers, a position... Continue reading...

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January 28, 2016 9:48 am
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The Importance of Appreciation During the Dark Days of Winter

Now that we are fully into the New Year and facing those long, dark winter days with cold weather and few days off from work, leaders need to take a hard look at how to support and encourage team members. This is the time of year (especially for those who like sunlight) that people often drag themselves through the day. As a psychologist who trains leaders and colleagues on how to effectively communicate appreciation in the workplace, let me offer some suggestions. Understand the nature of discouragement and burnout Discouragement and burnout, over the long haul, come from a combination... Continue reading...

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January 5, 2016 7:00 am
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Want an Unstoppable Team? Try Using Manager and Peer Recognition

By Dr. Paul White Most employee recognition programs place a lot, if not all, of the responsibility for recognizing good work of their team members squarely on the shoulders of managers or supervisions. This is unfortunate and, actually, creates unwanted negative effects. Clearly, calling attention to work done well by employees is a good habit to practice. When staff feel valued for the contributions they make, a sense of loyalty and emotional engagement to the mission of the organization develops. But focusing solely on managers and supervisors to support and communicate appreciation to their staff often is an unrealistic goal that creates... Continue reading...

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October 29, 2015 5:06 pm
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Appreciation in an International Multi-Cultural Organization

Recently, I had the privilege to provide training in communicating authentic appreciation to the management and supervisors of an elite international organization.  Functioning within the tourism and hospitality industries, the staff (in one location) come from over 40 countries and six continents. As I approached the training, I was interested to see and hear if the staff desired to be appreciated for their work.  Additionally, I wanted to find out whether communicating appreciation in the workplace was relevant across many cultures.  Finally, I was curious to learn various ways employees felt comfortable receiving appreciation and what the challenges might be... Continue reading...

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July 29, 2015 11:47 am
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5 Ways to Scatter Sunshine

There’s an old song I always find cheering. It’s called “Scatter Sunshine” and gives terrific advice about how you can make the world a better place every day. The first verse reads: In a world where sorrow ever will be known Where are found the needy and the sad and lone, How much joy and comfort you can all bestow, If you scatter sunshine everywhere you go.   Scatter sunshine all along your way. Cheer and bless and brighten Every passing day.   In a world full of people complaining about everything going wrong in their lives and where the... Continue reading...

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June 1, 2015 5:30 am
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5 Ways to Brighten Someone’s Day

Do you ever wish you could do something meaningful? That you could make the world a better place? Well, you can! One of the easiest ways to make a difference in the world is by taking a small action to help other people feel appreciated, accepted and valued. Here are five ways you can make the world a better place by brightening someone’s world today: #1 Visit Someone. So much of our communication is digital these days. It can make someone’s day to have a real, live, caring person show up just to say hello (without asking for something, like... Continue reading...

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May 6, 2015 11:00 am
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Two-Way Communication: Essential to Employee Engagement

Doug Conant, former turn-around CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, and Keven Kruse, a serial entrepreneur and popular keynote speaker, have something in common. Both believe that two-way communication is essential to employee engagement. Since employee engagement drives job satisfaction, high productivity, and low turnover, it is worth taking a minute or two to consider their perspective. What is employee engagement? It is the emotional connection that an employee has to the organization and its goals. A 2011 Gallup poll found that only 29% of the workforce is engaged at work. That means that more than two-thirds of people are... Continue reading...

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April 8, 2015 2:00 am
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“March Madness” – Can It Be Used to Build Staff Morale?

Every Spring a national “event” captures the attention of millions of employees: the NCAA “March Madness” basketball tournaments (both men’s and women’s). Individuals who are die-hard basketball fans, those who may follow their local college team when they are doing well, and people who just like to pick teams according to their mascots – all become intrigued and involved in following the games. Understanding “March Madness” While “March Madness” is typically referred to as a singular event, those familiar with the tournaments know that they actually are a series of games and regional tournaments over a three week period. The... Continue reading...

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March 7, 2015 3:05 pm
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The Human Side of Your Brand Is the Most Costly But the Most Valuable

Coming up with workplace policies workers find beneficial, help boost morale, and that lead to low employee turnover are things you hope all businesses do for their employees. Maintaining employees makes good sense for a business, as employee turnover comes with its own headaches and growing costs. No business wants to lose its employees, but when it does, it has to replace them, which is often a costly and time-consuming endeavor. Productivity is affected when an employee leaves the business, and often the firm has to scramble to find a replacement who will definitely take time before adapting to the... Continue reading...

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February 9, 2015 2:11 pm
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Not Everyone Appreciates Your Type of Appreciation

One of the lessons that aspiring leaders and those who want to continue to develop their leadership abilities must learn is: to be an effective leader, you have to learn how to lead individuals who are different than you. If you don’t, you will only be able to gather and lead those who are similar to you in personality, perspective or ability; and this, in turn, limits what you can accomplish. Although at first the idea seems intriguing, you actually don’t want to lead a group of “Junior You’s”. You may be talented but you can’t do everything, and to... Continue reading...

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February 3, 2015 1:31 pm
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Did You Know Your Mood Is as Contagious as the Flu Bug?

When people are upset prior to going into work or a meeting, they often try to take a couple of minutes to calm down and quell the surface signs of their distress; sometimes by putting a smile on their face before entering. Their hope is that they are leaving their problems at the door and communicating a positive image to their colleagues. However, the disappointing reality is that bad moods are just as contagious as the flu bug. Once present, negative thoughts and feelings can’t be contained easily. Dr. Richard Boyatzis, a neurologist and organizational development professor at Case Western... Continue reading...

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October 17, 2014 10:36 am
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Early Peek (Pre-release) of Rising Above a Toxic Workplace

What Makes a Workplace Toxic? Susan, a competent young professional, looked worn and defeated. In talking about her workplace, she told us that bickering, criticism, and lack of support had spread through her organization – a workplace she used to love. Now, she said, “The tension here is so thick I hate going to work. Actually, right now, I hate my life.” In our book, Rising Above a Toxic Workplace, we surveyed hundreds of employees (and leaders) from a wide range of industries and sectors. We then individually interviewed dozens whose stories intrigued us. From our research we discovered the... Continue reading...

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August 20, 2014 9:27 pm
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Should Appreciation Only Be Communicated When an Employee is Performing Well?

One of the most frequent questions I am asked when I’m conducting a training for a business is:  Should you show appreciation for someone who isn’t performing well? A tension exists in the world of recognition, employee engagement, and appreciation.  There are differences of opinion 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: The purpose of work is to provide goods or services to... Continue reading...

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August 11, 2014 12:31 pm
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Why “My boss is a jerk!” Isn’t Reason Enough to Hate Your Job

Two common mantras in our culture today are: “I hate my job” and “My boss is a jerk.” While both statements may be true, hating your job because your boss is a jerk isn’t going to lead anywhere good. According to Gallup, more than half of the U.S. workforce (or about 70 million employees) either are just enduring their job or actively hate where they work. With that level of dissatisfaction, it’s no surprise that we hear so many negative comments – either in personal conversations, through social media or the mainstream media. In other words, If you don’t like your job, welcome to... Continue reading...

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July 21, 2014 7:19 pm
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So You Are an Intern This Summer? What Should You Expect?

If you are one of the fortunate students who has landed an internship for the summer, congratulations. You have an opportunity to learn some practical skills in your field of study, add a valuable piece to your resume, and possibly make a little money (if it is a paid internship.) There is a good chance you have never been an intern before, so you are not exactly sure what to expect. So let us fill you in – with both the good and bad news. Understanding the Full Time Employees’ Perspective For most FTEs (full-time employees), interns are viewed either... Continue reading...

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July 8, 2014 8:16 pm
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Generational Differences in the 5 Languages of Appreciation

  One of the most frequently asked questions I receive when I’m training groups is: “Are there generational differences related to the 5 languages of appreciation?”   The simple answer is: Yes, there are.  Just as there are individual preference differences in how employees want appreciation communicated, so we are finding some diversity across the generations of workers, as well. (As is true for any group comparison, these trends seem to be generally true but there are clearly individual differences within the generations.) Let me cite a few examples. Words of Affirmation. We have found that younger employees may or may not... Continue reading...

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May 8, 2014 8:48 am
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So You Want to Work at Google? How to Make Your Workplace “The” Place to Work

So you want to work at Google? Or Apple? Or one of the “cool” places where they have free food, flexible work hours, and an informal work environment?  But the challenge is – you don’t live near Silicon Valley or have the skill set they require. (The second issue is the real limitation, isn’t it?) So what can you do where you work currently?  Even though you may not be the owner of your company, or even a high level executive, you can help make your workplace become “the” place to work.  Really. It is all about influence. We all... Continue reading...

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April 20, 2014 8:39 pm
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Solution #2 for Finding Good Employees: Train Your Current Employees

In a prior post on the challenges employers are having in finding qualified applicants for the positions they need to fill, I shared that there are three strategies that, over time, can help employers and managers address this problem.  The first solution is to keep your valued employees by making sure they feel appreciated. The second way to fill empty slots in your organization is to train and mentor current employees who have potential but who need to grow. We often have employees who are “okay” but who have an area of deficiency or a character quality they need to... Continue reading...

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April 7, 2014 10:34 am
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Lack of Qualified Applicants? Solution #1: Keep Your Good Employees

The news is repetitive and blaring:  employers are complaining about the inability to find qualified applicants for positions that need to be filled.  I have seen three articles in business magazines this week about the issue.  Part of the discussion is about the irony — having 10+ million workers who can’t find work, while employers reporting they can’t find potential employees who meet the needs they have.  (In fairness, there are employers interviewed in the articles saying they aren’t having this problem.) The issue is both national and local, and across multiple industries and workforces.  Key term to understand: qualified... Continue reading...

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March 31, 2014 11:55 pm
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How Appreciation May Impact March Madness This Year – By Paul White, PhD

March Madness (the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments) is upon us. For some, this may be the only time they watch a basketball game all year. For millions of others, March Madness provides the opportunity to cheer their favorite team, and to place some friendly wagers in the office pool for the tournament bracket. This year’s tournament, interestingly, may be impacted by the concept of appreciation. One men’s team that is being watched closely by many (for different reasons) is Wichita State University. The WSU Shockers (which is short for “wheat shockers”, the people that used to cut wheat... Continue reading...

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March 12, 2014 6:14 pm
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