Categories for Authenticity

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. Not everyone wears a sign that says, “I need to feel valued” or “Approaching burnout: encouragement needed,” (although some of us do wear ‘signs’ on our faces where others can easily tell when we are discouraged or weary). But many people are harder to read—they don’t say much and have rather non-expressive facial expressions. Additionally, some of us are not especially talented at picking up clues sent out by others. Our colleagues may be clearly communicating their distress, but we... Continue reading...

Published by
September 30, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

5 Languages Spotlight: Acts of Service

For someone whose preferred language of appreciation is Acts of Service, actions speak louder than words. Their motto is, “Don’t tell me you care; show me.” This week we want to focus on some of the best ways to show authentic appreciation to those who are encouraged by Acts of Service. As a reminder, to be successful in applying the 5 Languages of Appreciation in your workplace, for staff to feel truly appreciated, there are four core conditions that need to be met. Team members will feel valued when appreciation is communicated: regularly, through the language and actions important to... Continue reading...

Published by
September 23, 2019 8:57 am
Leave your thoughts

Steps to Meaningful Affirmation

To affirm someone is to say something positive about someone directly to him or her. It is about saying something positive to the person about who he or she is. Or, it could be thanking someone for something he or she has done for you. Think of someone who has done something special for you. Maybe you think the person knows you appreciate the favor, but maybe you’ve never actually told him or her. Consider affirming that person directly, and see what happens. Let’s explore how to do that. Remove insincere phrases. First, remove phrases in your affirmation like “I... Continue reading...

Published by
September 16, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

5 Languages Spotlight: Words of Affirmation

How to Use Words of Appreciation Effectively While Words of Affirmation is the easiest language for most people to understand and use, it isn’t always deployed effectively. Supervisors and managers often use words to encourage their team members. Compliments, a simple “thank you”, praise in front of others – all are examples of common uses of words to send positive messages in the workplace. 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... Continue reading...

Published by
September 2, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

How to Show Appreciation Personally When You Oversee a Large Group

How do you communicate appreciation effectively when you manage large groups of employees? When I am conducting an Appreciation at Work training session with a work group, a common comment and question is similar to what 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.  But I have team members who report to me that I rarely see. They work a different shift or on the weekends and while we communicate through email, texts, and occasional calls, I really don’t have much... Continue reading...

Published by
August 19, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Four Questions (and Tips) That Will Transform Your Culture

People grow into the conversations you create around them. The best tool great leaders have to strengthen and empower others is powerful questions. Questions evoke curiosity. They force others to think. And, when answered well, allow others to take ownership of the process and responsibility for the outcomes. It has been said that powerful questions can steer any conversation away from problems and personalities and move them toward meaningful solutions. Powerful questions evoke insight, stir creativity, inspire collaboration and help craft a culture of accountability. So, to that end, let me offer four questions that, when asked often and answered... Continue reading...

Published by
August 12, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

The Ways People Don’t Want to Be Appreciated

Have you ever: seen a colleague become extremely uncomfortable in the midst of receiving appreciation from their supervisor or manager? tried to show appreciation to one of your co-workers, and it really didn’t go well? been at a company recognition ceremony and watched with discomfort as an award recipient seemed to be in agony while in front of everyone? The focus of our mission at Appreciation at Work is to help colleagues and supervisors learn how to show appreciation to one another in the ways that are meaningful to that person. But we’ve found that people also want to identify... Continue reading...

Published by
July 8, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

How to Grow Your Appreciation for Others – Learn to Value Them

What do I do when I don’t appreciate someone? 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. Secondly, don’t try to push through it and “make yourself” appreciate a colleague. (And you don’t have to feel guilty about it, either!) What we have learned over time is that to appreciate someone is both a heart issue and a behavior. And, like any feeling we may experience, you can’t force yourself to appreciate... Continue reading...

Published by
June 24, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

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...

Published by
June 10, 2019 9:16 am
Leave your thoughts

Improve Your Culture, Buy a Chicken!

I was having lunch with a friend who told me about an interaction that he had with one of his team members. Apparently, he caught wind that a young lady who reported directly to him was at her desk, crying inconsolably. After inviting her into his office, he began to inquire about what had upset her so. Being a newlywed, she was experiencing difficulty adjusting to married life and a number of challenges had come their way, compounding the stress. But, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was that her favorite chicken had died suddenly from an unknown... Continue reading...

Published by
May 20, 2019 8:51 am
Leave your thoughts

The Benefits of a Vibrant Workplace: Creating Harmony and a Positive Work Environment

“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 become 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...

Published by
May 13, 2019 7:26 pm
Leave your thoughts

Why Employee Recognition Isn’t Working

As I have traveled across the country, working with various businesses and organizations, I’ve had the privilege to interact with numerous employees, supervisors, managers and HR professionals. When discussing their employee recognition programs, they report that their current programs aren’t working – they are not having a positive impact on employees or workplace morale. And, in many cases, the ways that most employee recognition programs are implemented actually create negative reactions among team members. Why? Because, as generally implemented, recognition is very different from authentic appreciation. Here is what we found: Recognition is largely about behavior. “Catch them doing what you... Continue reading...

Published by
April 8, 2019 9:00 am
1 Comment

The Value of Appreciation: Convincing Skeptics

Many business and organizational leaders are skeptical about the value of appreciation.  Leaders frequently ask: *What benefits will I or my organization gain from training my leaders and staff in communicating appreciation to one another? *Why should we be concerned about whether our employees feel appreciated? *What’s the potential benefit for the time, energy and cost it will take? These questions are neither unusual nor unreasonable for those who are responsible for the financial well-being of a business. The world of work is a demanding environment with harsh realities and no one has extra time or energy to waste on... Continue reading...

Published by
April 1, 2019 8:18 am
Leave your thoughts

How to Determine the Ways Your Team Wants to Be Shown Appreciation

Communicating appreciation effectively to those with whom you work is based on three foundational premises: Not everyone feels appreciated in the same ways. (And specifically, not necessarily through the ways you feel appreciated.) Hence, the effectiveness of using the 5 Languages of Appreciation to communicate in the ways valued by the recipient. Appreciation needs to be viewed as authentic to have a positive impact. Attempts to communicate appreciate which are perceived as disingenuous not only “fall flat”, but they can actually create damage to your relationship. The more specific the appreciation is, the more likely it will be perceived as... Continue reading...

Published by
March 25, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

The Languages of Appreciation: A Tool for Growing Soft Skills

Historically, high level business and organizational leaders have been taught to focus on the “hard” metrics of business – financial statements, market share, increasing productivity and reducing expenses to maximize profits and shareholder value. These all are important aspects to monitor, to ensure the business is profitable and sustainable. Similarly, engineers, computer programmers and others who work in high-tech industries most often associated with Silicon Valley are trained, focused on, and rewarded for producing results. And these high-tech companies are known to offer competitive financial rewards and recognition programs to motivate and encourage employees to keep delivering high quality work.... Continue reading...

Published by
February 25, 2019 8:55 am
Leave your thoughts

Boost Employee Morale: 3 Simple Steps YOU Can Take

‘Low Staff Morale’ is one of the most common issues leaders report that they struggle with. “We need help,” one manager told me. “People are negative, complaining, and don’t feel like the management cares about anything but getting the work done. And, to be honest, that’s how they have been treated. We need to turn things around.” PRACTICAL STEPS TO TAKE Here are three action steps you can take to improve (your own and) others’ morale: #1: Conduct a Self-Assessment   Ask yourself: What am I doing that isn’t helpful in creating a positive workplace? This could include both actions (complaining about a... Continue reading...

Published by
February 11, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

The Changing Workplace: The Importance of Peer to Peer Appreciation

When we first started applying the 5 languages to work-based relationships, out initial focus of communicating appreciation within the workplace was on managers and supervisors. 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. So, 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 to narrow and was not all that... Continue reading...

Published by
January 28, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

The Changing Workplace: Appreciation and Remote Workers

The culture that we live and work in is subject to constant change over time. And in recent years, that change has occurred at a highly accelerated rate. Rows of desks filled with stenographers and secretaries are well in the past.  In the 70’s, offices looked like cubicle farms, and these, in turn, transformed back up to open office plans, attempting to encourage communication and collaboration. Additionally, rapid technological changes (from the phone, to faxes, to emails, texting and videoconferencing) have created an entirely new category of employee, the remote worker. And their ranks are growing. In 1995, 9% of... Continue reading...

Published by
January 14, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Is Appreciation in the Workplace Changing?

Is appreciation in the workplace changing? Is it the same as it was 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Does the way we communicate appreciation change over time? Yes, it does. But, in many ways, no it doesn’t. Last week, a new revised and updated version of The 5 Language of Appreciation in the Workplace was released.                           The first edition was published in 2011 and some may think, ok, that’s great for those who haven’t read it already, but the topic couldn’t have really changed that much. I would ‘beg... Continue reading...

Published by
January 7, 2019 8:58 am
Leave your thoughts

To Give or Not to Give? That Is the Question

Many of us are (belatedly) starting to think:           “I’d like to get my boss (or colleague) a gift for the holidays, but what? I don’t want it to look like I’m trying to gain my boss’ favor.  But I don’t want just to give her some token ‘something’ that will look schmaltzy.           What could I get her?” I’m going to give you some things to think about, some of which may surprise you. First, consider not giving a gift now. Wait, and give them a meaningful gift later, after you have taken time to consider and explore.  Thoughtless... Continue reading...

Published by
December 10, 2018 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

What Employees Love & Hate about the Holidays

There are many factors to how holidays are handled in the workplace. Work schedules and demands, time off, decorations, and holiday parties all factor into how the season is incorporated into an office space and received by the employees who work there. Last year, we polled our readers to find out what they loved and hated about holidays in the workplace. We received nearly 3,000 responses! We explored both the good AND the bad because, well, that’s life! While we attempt to focus on the positive and provide hope for improving workplaces, we are also committed to being reality-based. So,... Continue reading...

Published by
December 3, 2018 8:55 am
Leave your thoughts

What to Do When You Don’t Appreciate Your Colleague

Let’s be honest, some people are more difficult to work with than others. There are weird people; angry, irritable colleagues; people with a lousy work ethic, and people we just don’t understand. And appreciating these individuals can be even more challenging. Let me share a few tips on communicating appreciation to a “difficult” colleague: 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” when they believe others aren’t being genuine. You risk undermining any trust you may have with your colleague if they don’t think what you are saying or... Continue reading...

Published by
November 5, 2018 9:00 am
1 Comment

Communicating Appreciation to Your Boss on Boss’s Day

Tuesday, October 16th is Boss’s Day.  And no, it isn’t one of those appreciation days that was created recently by Hallmark, the National Association of Employers, or some other group with a potential secondary gain. (Boss’s Day was first instituted in 1958, by a secretary for an insurance company.) The key questions, if you are an employee, are:  1) Should I do something for my boss?  2) If so, what?  3) How do I keep from looking like I am just “sucking up” to her or him?  Let us give you a quick way to think through the decisions. It would... Continue reading...

Published by
October 15, 2018 8:55 am
Leave your thoughts

5 Languages Spotlight: Gifts

When asked to compare the various Languages of Appreciation in importance to them, employees overwhelmingly don’t choose tangible rewards as the primary way they want to be shown appreciation.  In fact, only 6% of employees identify tangible gifts as their primary language of appreciation.  To look at the issue from the opposite perspective, employees choose tangible gifts as their least valued way to be shown appreciation almost 70% of the time. Why is this important to know?  For two reasons.  First, most employee recognition programs focus highly on giving gifts as a reward for achieving goals.  While there is obviously... Continue reading...

Published by
July 23, 2018 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Leadership Is More Than a Job Description – It’s a Mindset

When people get promoted into leadership, it’s usually because they have demonstrated outstanding technical abilities. Unfortunately, technical proficiency is not a reliable indicator for effective leadership. In fact, some alarming large-scale studies on employee engagement and trust in the workplace in the past few years suggest we might need to rethink who we put in leadership and what we actually look for when promoting people into those roles. Should Leadership be a Profession? Think about it, lawyers need to pass a bar exam, hair stylists need to get a cosmetology license. Heck, you even need a license to go fishing!... Continue reading...

Published by
June 25, 2018 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

5 Languages Spotlight: Words of Affirmation

Tips for Using Words of Appreciation Effectively In honor of June being National Effective Communication Month, we wanted to spotlight the most ‘popular’ language of appreciation, Words of Affirmation. While this is the easiest language for most people to understand and use, it isn’t always deployed effectively. Supervisors and managers often use words to encourage their team members. Compliments, a simple “thank you”, praise in front of others – all are examples of common uses of words to send positive messages in the workplace. We have found that following a few simple tips can make the use of words more... Continue reading...

Published by
May 29, 2018 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Why we should stop ‘recognizing’ employees and start appreciating them

As I have traveled across the country working with businesses and organizations, I’ve had the privilege to interact with HR professionals and corporate trainers. Initially, I was surprised to hear reports from both professionals and front-line workers that the vast majority of employee recognition programs aren’t working. These activities generally are not having a positive impact on employees or workplace morale. In many cases, recognition programs actually are backfiring and creating negative reactions among team members. In fact, the three most common reactions I receive from employees when they talk about “employee recognition” are apathy, sarcasm, and cynicism. Why? As... Continue reading...

Published by
May 14, 2018 8:27 am
Leave your thoughts

An Unlikely Win-Win-Win

Positive feedback inspires better employee performance Ten years ago, as I walked around the nursing home that I ran, I did what many leaders do, regardless of the field that they are in. I pointed out everything that was wrong. Sure, I took time to say hello, chatted a bit with employees and said thanks for a few things I saw going right. But, I also pointed out everything that was going wrong. Everything! Then a certified nursing assistant (CNA) said something that has stuck with me for years, “Denise, all you do is see the negative.” My immediate reaction... Continue reading...

April 10, 2018 8:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Two Major Misconceptions Leaders Hold About Appreciation

“Appreciation” has become a major buzz word in many workplaces — to the point that there have been numerous commercials in the media boasting “We Appreciate You” (often in the context of employees to customers). In the recent past, the emphasis has been more on employee recognition, with numerous books, articles, and seminars and even companies committed to helping leaders and managers recognizing their team members for work well done. In fact,experts in human resource management estimate 90% of all businesses and organizations in the U.S. have some form of employee recognition program. The problem is — in terms of... Continue reading...

Published by
April 2, 2018 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Employee Appreciation Day: 365 Days a Year

Did you know that celebrating Employee Appreciation Day can actually create serious problems for bosses and supervisors? This Friday, March 2nd, is Employee Appreciation Day. And while the team at Appreciation at Work certainly applauds the thought, we want to encourage our readers to consider that authentic appreciation is something that can and should be practiced every day of the year, not just on a single, designated ‘holiday.’ At the core of the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace is the knowledge that team members will feel valued when appreciation is communicated: regularly, through the language and actions important... Continue reading...

Published by
February 26, 2018 3:40 pm
Leave your thoughts