Categories for Appreciation

Tips for Developing a Culture of Appreciation: How to Get Past Being ‘Stuck’

Many of us have good intentions. We want to help improve our workplace culture, become more positive and supportive, and less combative and stressful. And many of us have tried, but have gotten stuck in their endeavors. Our efforts in introducing the 5 languages of appreciation to leaders and colleagues have either been met with a lukewarm response or started out well, but fizzled before getting off the ground (partly due to all of the challenges the COVID pandemic has created). But I would encourage you: Take heart! Steps can be taken to get you ‘unstuck.’ Remember: People Have Limited... Continue reading...

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January 24, 2022 11:20 am
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Appreciation Across Generations

How Preferences Among Different Age Groups Should Influence Your Recognition Strategies If you approach communicating appreciation and recognition to employees the same, regardless of their age group, you are at high risk for missing the mark – including wasting your time, energy and the organization’s money. Recent research with over 190,000 employees found that how they prefer to be shown appreciation varies significantly, especially for employees in the youngest and oldest generations. Utilizing the five languages of appreciation model, we found that while the pattern of preferred appreciation languages generally carries across age groups, a shift is occurring. Historically over... Continue reading...

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January 17, 2022 9:00 am
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My Surprising Goal for 2022

It’s that time of the year again – when we think about resolutions for the new year. Rather than considering a new list of “to do’s,” I’ve been thinking more about the role of perseverance in our lives, and in the lives of those who accomplish meaningful goals. While resolving to start new habits or achieve new goals is obviously a worthy endeavor, I believe sticking to and finishing those tasks not yet completed may be a better use of our time and energy. Our culture idolizes the “new” and really doesn’t think much of the boring, “steady as she goes,” day in... Continue reading...

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December 27, 2021 9:00 am
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Sync or Swim: A light read about difficult situations and 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 –team members spread out, supply chain challenges, and being short-staffed. Sync or Swim helps you understand underlying issues that will assist you and your team as you work through these challenges. 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.” (It is also is a great way to introduce friends, family and colleagues to the 5 languages of appreciation.) Humans are hard-wired... Continue reading...

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December 6, 2021 9:00 am
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Should I Give Gifts to My Colleagues This Holiday Season?

Tips for Navigating Holiday Gift-Giving It’s the time of year when many of us are starting to think: “I’d like to get my colleagues (or boss) a gift for the holidays, but what? I don’t want it to look like I’m just trying to ‘look good.’ But I don’t want to give them some trinket that will come across as schmaltzy. What should I get them… if anything?” I’m going to give you some advice to consider, some of which may surprise you. Unfortunately, in most work settings, the way gifts are given (as well as what is given and when they are given) reinforce our negative... Continue reading...

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November 29, 2021 9:00 am
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Your Thanksgiving Celebrations Poll Results

Holiday Football, the 5-Second Rule, and the Popularity of Pumpkin Anything We recently asked you to share about your Thanksgiving celebrations and experiences and over 200 of you responded! Our staff enjoyed reading about your traditions and dishes – from the familiar to the ‘new to us.’ Your comments ranged from the common frustrations surrounding who hosts, what is served and dealing with annoying relatives to the anticipation of spending time with college-aged children who will return home, finally getting to meet new family members born during quarantine, games, laughter and spending time together in person. Eighty-three people answered our... Continue reading...

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November 22, 2021 6:13 pm
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We’ve Been Fact Checked (and We Were Right!)

HBR reports research demonstrating appreciation improves productivity The Harvard Business Review recently published an intriguing article, “5 Things High-Performing Teams Do Differently” based on research findings by Dr. Ron Friedman.   “New research suggests that the highest-performing teams have found subtle ways of leveraging social connections during the pandemic to fuel their success. The findings offer important clues on ways any organization can foster greater connectedness — even within a remote or hybrid work setting — to engineer higher-performing teams.” And (surprise!) three of the five key characteristic actions they cited are core principles we teach in our Appreciation at... Continue reading...

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November 1, 2021 9:00 am
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How to Use Humor at Work to Lighten the Mood, Even If You Aren’t Funny

Humor, laughter and smiling are easy, cheap antidotes to negativity and difficult circumstances. Consider the following: Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. — Lord Byron Even the gods love jokes. — Plato If laughter cannot solve your problems, it will definitely DISSOLVE your problems; so that you can think clearly what to do about them. – Dr. Madan Kataria And while we don’t really need research to confirm what we all know experientially, here a few facts from the Mayo Clinic. Laughter:   *improves our mood   *decreases the stress we are experiencing   *increases oxygen flow to... Continue reading...

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October 18, 2021 9:00 am
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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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Making ‘Negative’ Communication Healthier: The Differences Between Complaints and Concerns

A lot of comments have been voiced about the increasing intensity of negative and conflictual conversations in our culture – on television, on radio talk shows, in social media, even in our personal interactions. In reflecting on the numerous challenges facing us in the workplace and our community activities (decisions about school attendance, sports events, social gatherings), it became clear that there are a lot of areas in our lives that we can complain about. Almost simultaneously, I thought: “We are in a space where almost all of us can become overwhelmed with the amount of complaining we hear and... Continue reading...

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September 8, 2020 9:00 am
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The Benefits of a Vibrant Workplace: Creating Harmony and Positive Energy at Work

Vibrant: full of energy and enthusiasm. Spirited, lively, energetic, full of life. The vibrant workplace connotes energy, positivity, and growth — characteristics we desire for the environment where we spend the majority of our waking hours. A vibrant workplace draws people to it — quality, talented employees want to work in a healthy context and became a part of the life-exuding process. Employees bring their own gifts and unique personalities to add to the synergy in a dynamic work setting. A vibrant workplace is the antithesis of how many work environments are described: negative, energy-sapping, and toxic to growth. Employees... Continue reading...

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August 17, 2020 9:00 am
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Preparing for a Storm – Lessons from Tornado Alley

As a country, it appears likely we are headed for stormy times. Why do I think so?  First, as a psychologist and social scientist, I’m trained to observe patterns in social behaviors that assist us in predicting future likely behavior patterns. Secondly, because I’m from the Midwest in the heart of “tornado alley” and we are experts in being able to see the signs leading to severe weather. And the two sets of patterns and conditions are quite similar. Stormy Weather I’m not going to go through all of the different circumstances that lead up to severe weather in the... Continue reading...

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August 10, 2020 8:55 am
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Building a Strong Team Culture: Valuing & Appreciating Differences in the Workplace

To build a successful and sustainable business, you need a team of employees who bring their unique abilities, strengths and perspectives to the challenges you will face. But to draw and keep talented individuals who have a variety of skills and personality types, you have to learn a key skill: You have to learn how to lead people who are different than you. Many books on leadership provide valuable insights into key skills and abilities needed to effectively lead others. But one concept that is not stressed enough is: to lead a successful team, you have to understand those who are... Continue reading...

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August 3, 2020 9:00 am
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Employees Are People, Not Just Work Units

Let me pose some questions for you:   *Are you a person or just a production unit?   *Do you have a life outside of work? (Think: friends, family, interests) *Are you a person, even at work, beyond your role there and what you get done? While performing one’s job as expected is critical, I firmly believe that people have worth and value no matter their level of performance. Every person is a unique individual created by God, and we all are intrinsically valuable—apart from what we do or accomplish. Many employees at all levels, including managers and supervisors, have... Continue reading...

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July 27, 2020 9:00 am
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