Categories for Business/Leadership

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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Dealing with Pushback from Employees on Returning to Onsite Work

Recently, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, announced to the 137,000 Apple employees that they would be expected to return to work onsite beginning in early September – not necessarily full-time but potentially up to three days a week. Almost immediately, there was pushback from some employees who wrote an open letter in Verge stating: “We feel like the current policy is not sufficient in addressing many of our needs.” The issue is one that many companies are facing – divergent views and conflicting desires regarding employees returning to work in the office, at least on a semi-regular basis. More... Continue reading...

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June 28, 2021 9:00 am
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Sync or Swim: A light read about 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 – working from home, team members spread out, and financial challenges. Sync or Swim fits into both these categories. 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.” (And it is a great way to introduce friends, family and colleagues to the 5 languages of appreciation.) Humans are hard-wired for a story and fables cut through complexity to reveal simple wisdom.... Continue reading...

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November 30, 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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How to Help Your Employees Find Purpose at Work

“Does what I do matter?” Every person on the planet wants to know the answer to this question. This is especially true for employees that are feeling unstable and uncertain about their future. Employees that have a clear sense of their purpose are more engaged, more loyal, and more productive too. Amidst the pandemic, your team is looking for hope. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that nearly one-third of all Americans currently suffer from depression and anxiety. As quarantine orders took effect, self-help book sales shot up by 39%. Man has been searching for meaning from the beginning of time.... Continue reading...

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August 31, 2020 8:55 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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How Do You Successfully Encourage Employees During Difficult Times?

Anxiety. Discouragement. Feeling disconnected. Worried about the future. All are currently common experiences for hundreds of thousands of workers in the U.S. We are told “we’re all in this together,” “we’ll get through this,” “it will get better soon” – all of which are true (to some degree). But almost all of us have moments when we are emotionally worn out, lose hope, and want to give up. Some of us cycle through these periods rather quickly, others linger in the dark space for a while, and some of us have difficulty climbing out of the cave. Enter: the need for encouragement and... Continue reading...

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April 27, 2020 9:00 am
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The Intersection Between Emotional Intelligence and Employee Appreciation

Emotional Intelligence is a big deal, and a lot of people across all fields have recognized its importance. Daniel Goleman labeled it the sine quo non of leadership. Travis Bradberry found high levels of emotional intelligence in 90% of top performers across a variety of industries. Actor David Caruso called emotional intelligence the “intersection” of head and heart. Jack Welch said that emotional intelligence was more important than book smarts in the making of a leader. Emotional intelligence describes a person’s ability to recognize, manage, and influence emotions in themselves and other people. It is the skill you use to... Continue reading...

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March 16, 2020 9:00 am
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Sync or Swim: A Fable about Workplace Communication and Coming Together in a Crisis

Since earliest times, fables have been passed on from generation to generation. Humans are ‘hard-wired for a story’ and fables cut through complexity to reveal simple wisdom. In them we see our own predicaments and reactions, both wise and foolish. Our book, Sync or Swim, helps us solve the frustrating contradiction of morale-building programs that end up hurting morale and of recognition programs resulting in cynicism. The story is written to be a fun, quick read, illustrating ways to communicate appreciation that generate productivity and effective teamwork. Each character responds in different ways to the same situation – as each... Continue reading...

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December 9, 2019 9:00 am
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The Power of Using Stories to Lead

How Effective Leaders Grab the Hearts of their Team Members Most leaders tend to focus on data and factual information. And accurate data is important for making good management decisions. But throughout history, communicating through facts has not been the most utilized method for sharing and developing leadership qualities. Rather, stories have been used more than any other form of verbal expression. For evidence, look to Greek philosophers, wisdom literature from Asia, and the wide range of stories from multiple cultures across the centuries designed to teach guiding principles for life. Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Confucius and Jesus all used stories grounded in daily... Continue reading...

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December 2, 2019 9:00 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey: How to Show Appreciation at Work This Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (“bombarded” is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying “thanks” in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “Who is this person impersonating our supervisor?” card. The... Continue reading...

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November 18, 2019 9:00 am
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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 emphasize giving gifts as a reward for achieving goals. While there is obviously nothing inherently wrong about... Continue reading...

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November 4, 2019 9:00 am
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Characteristics of Successful Teams

Although working with a team of very talented, capable and successful professionals can be fun and exciting, these teams can be challenging as well. But there are factors, when built into the team effort, 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).... Continue reading...

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October 14, 2019 9:00 am
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How Millennials Lead: 4 Steps To Prepare Them For Leadership Today

How will the next generation lead?  The answer to this question will shape your business and your legacy. Three factors determine your leadership style: How you were parented. How you learn. And perhaps the most consequential, your generation. We are in the most significant generational power hand-off in history. Today 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 years old. Baby Boomers are delaying retirement an average of five years. But the real problem is Generation X. Generation X (born 1965-1981) is about one-third the size of the Baby Boomer population (born 1946-1964). Translation: there are not enough Gen Xers to fill... Continue reading...

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October 7, 2019 9:00 am
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Podcasts & Authentic Appreciation

Many people may not see any significant relationship between podcasts and authentic appreciation – but there is at least one. Podcasting is a form of communication which has developed rapidly over the past 5-10 years. Formerly, authors (now known as “content producers”) would share their ideas via a variety of media. Articles, books, and then blogs, communicated with the printed word. Radio and television shows and interviews used the oral and visual expression of one’s ideas. Many of these embodied the characteristics of “broadcasting” – casting out your information broadly, to a wide range of people – hoping that you would find those people... Continue reading...

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September 9, 2019 8:55 am
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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...

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August 19, 2019 9:00 am
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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...

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August 12, 2019 9:00 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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June 10, 2019 9:16 am
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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...

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May 20, 2019 8:51 am
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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...

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May 13, 2019 7:26 pm
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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...

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April 1, 2019 8:18 am
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The Employees You Should Worry About Losing: The Average Ones

Disturbing research was released recently by The Gallup Group, indicating that 87% of the workforce is either not engaged (read: they are there physically but not mentally or emotionally), or totally disengaged (they actually undermine the success of an organization.) This is the highest rate of disengagement ever measured, and 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 Tope & Low Performers A basic challenge in working together with others is that not everyone performs at the same level with regard to the... Continue reading...

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March 11, 2019 9:00 am
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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...

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February 25, 2019 8:55 am
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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...

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January 7, 2019 8:58 am
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5 Misconceptions about Workplace Culture (And How You Can Make a Difference)

Workplace culture is both a “hot” and important topic in the world today.  Companies, organizations, and government agencies are all struggling with the reality that they have seriously unhealthy workplace cultures.  Yet many people (including leaders) have significant misconceptions about what creates “workplace culture” and whether or not (or how) it can be changed.  Frequent results of these misconceptions include: a) individuals within the organization giving up trying to improve the culture because they view the situation as hopeless; b) they want to do something to make a difference but don’t know where to start, or c) their attempts to... Continue reading...

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November 12, 2018 9:00 am
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How Aesop Got It Right: 6 Reasons Stories Can Motivate Your Team

John was struggling with how to handle a difficult situation with a key vendor for the company. He went to his supervisor, Stephanie, and asked her advice on what he should do. Rather than telling him what to do, or even giving direct input, Stephanie replied, “John, let me tell you a story . . . ” She went on to tell a story about an experience she had had early in her career and the consequences of her decision over the years. When she was done, she paused and waited. After a few seconds of silence, John smiled and said: “Got it. Thanks.” He stood up... Continue reading...

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July 16, 2018 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. And our book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, has been translated into 17 languages. Lessons From a Multinational Training Experience A few years ago, I had the privilege of training 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... Continue reading...

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July 9, 2018 9:00 am
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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...

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June 25, 2018 9:00 am
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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...

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May 14, 2018 8:27 am
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