Categories for Business/Leadership

Communicating Appreciation Effectively When You Manage Large Groups

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... Continue reading...

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April 23, 2018 9:00 am
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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
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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...

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April 2, 2018 9:00 am
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Even the CEO Needs Appreciation

In honor of National Small Business Owner’s Day this Thursday, March 29th, we wanted to take a look at those whose job it is to lead their organizations – whether large or small, family owned or publicly traded. As an owner, CEO, or manager, it can be a challenge to show appreciation to others on your team when you don’t feel appreciated. Not feeling valued is not reserved only for “lower level” workers, which some people seem to assume. The fact remains that ultimately everyone wants to know that they are valued by those around them. One business owner and... Continue reading...

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March 26, 2018 9:00 am
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How Leaders Sometimes View Employee Recognition

Maybe you’ve seen what I have seen over 20+ years of trying to help many companies get their employee recognition right. Often I am dealing with managers in the middle – typically from Human Resources – who understand the importance of employee recognition and are trying desperately to rectify low recognition scores reported by their employees on the latest employee engagement survey. Even their director knows they need to improve this engagement line, which has been doing poorly for the past few years. The problem is with the most senior leader. It can be chief executive officer, president, or chief... Continue reading...

March 19, 2018 9:00 am
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6 Reasons Your Boss Doesn’t Say Thank You Enough (or ever)

Words of Affirmation is just one of the five ways employees like to be shown appreciation. But in honor of January’s designation as National Thank You Month, I wanted to take a look at why sometimes even a simple thank you isn’t said often enough. Business and organizational leaders are constantly reminded how important it is to communicate appreciation to their staff — and it is. When employees truly feel valued and appreciated, good things follow. Team members are less likely to leave for another job, complain and grumble, steal from the organization, or get hurt on the job. Conversely,... Continue reading...

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January 8, 2018 8:30 am
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Sometimes Old is Better Than New: Lessons from 3 Impactful Leadership Books

In thinking about the New Year, making goals and New Year’s resolutions, I tend to go back to those books which have impacted me over the years.  I thought I would share some gleanings from these books. First Things First by Stephen Covey “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” “Humility truly is the mother of all virtues . . . It unleashes all other learning, all growth and process.” “We need to be constantly asking ourselves, ‘What is needed out there, and what is my unique strength, my gift?'” “We’re getting more done in... Continue reading...

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January 7, 2018 7:55 pm
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7 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence Will Continue to Be Highly Desired

According to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020 The awareness that emotional intelligence has become an important job skill, even surpassing technical ability, has been growing over the last number of years. A Career Builder Survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals found the following: 71 percent stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ 75 percent said they were more likely to promote a high EI worker 59 percent claimed they would not hire someone with a high... Continue reading...

July 20, 2017 9:45 pm
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Trump’s First 100 Days: How Arbitrary Deadlines Create Stress

Much of the news this past week has been focused on President Trump’s first 100 days in office and what accomplishments have been made in that time frame.  On the one hand, setting a deadline to review progress made on goals seems appropriate; on the other hand, this process is a great example of how setting arbitrary deadlines create unnecessary stress in the workplace. For the President (Trump or otherwise), is there anything magical about 100 days?  Not really.  The time period could be 90 days, 3 months, or 101 days — the length of time is not directly related... Continue reading...

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April 28, 2017 5:09 pm
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The Vibrant Workplace: How to Build a Positive Workplace Culture

I am excited to let you know about the release of my new book, The Vibrant Workplace: Overcoming the Obstacles to Building a Culture of Appreciation, which came out in bookstores this week. The Vibrant Workplace is a summary of the lessons learned over the past 7+ years while helping organizations and leaders implement authentic appreciation in their workplaces.  Since creating a positive workplace culture is not the easiest thing to do, I identify the 10 most common challenges experienced, the underlying issues creating the obstacles faced, and give practical steps to overcome them. The issues addressed in the book, and... Continue reading...

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April 6, 2017 12:38 pm
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Your Most Important Group of Employees: The Average Ones

NOTE: This is an exclusive preview from my new book, The Vibrant Workplace: Overcoming the Obstacles to Building a Culture of Appreciation, which will release on April 4 and can be pre-ordered now (go here for a special pre-release offer with access to a “behind the scenes” video interview).      *          *          *          *          *          * A vibrant workplace has a number of important core characteristics, but one is readily apparent: work gets done. Sometimes leaders (especially managers and executives) assume that, because I talk a lot about appreciating others in the workplace, that I am all about relationships (being... Continue reading...

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March 21, 2017 10:56 am
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Traditional Recognition Programs and Why They Don’t Work

Building a vibrant workplace requires a foundation of trust, respect, and honest communication. But many managers and employees are well aware of the problems with traditional recognition programs, how they breed cynicism and apathy and come across as a one-size-fits- all approach. I hear this over and over. When I talk with employees, front-line supervisors, and mid level managers about their companies’ efforts to improve staff morale, usually through employee recognition programs, the most common responses I get are negative. “They don’t care about us; they just do this recognition stuff to make themselves look good,” said one employee. “It’s... Continue reading...

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February 16, 2017 1:03 pm
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5 Meeting Principles to Live By

What are the magic ingredients for a successful meeting? A meeting in which participants build relationships, exchange ideas, unearth insights, make decisions, and get the information they need to move work forward? We all know there’s no “magic” that comes without preparation and hard work. But there are five basic principles that underlie successful meetings. Principle #1. Every voice matters Different perspectives enrich a conversation, strengthen a team, and generally lead to better outcomes. Good meeting leaders establish a safe and open environment in which participants can voice their concerns. You don’t have to transform your entire organization’s meeting culture... Continue reading...

February 1, 2017 8:30 am
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What Leaders Need to Be Communicating to Their Workforce

Ask any worker in corporate America and most will tell you: business leaders could be communicating more effectively with their workforce. Data collected in an Interact/Harris poll shows that most leaders aren’t engaging in crucial communication moments that could help establish trust. In fact, 91% of employees who responded to the poll said communication issues drag executives down. Instead of using effective communication strategies, leaders often display a lack of emotional intelligence by micromanaging, being indecisive, and attempting to hide their mistakes. By comparison, effective leaders are intentional about communicating with their workforce. Here are 5 ways leaders can communicate... Continue reading...

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January 19, 2017 5:00 pm
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What Employees Don’t Like About the Holidays

Some people love the holiday season, while others really don’t. In fact, it seems that a growing number of people make comments like: “I hate the holidays!” (Maybe they are just more vocal about it.) To find out more specifics, last year we sent out a survey to find out what about the holiday season employees don’t like – partly for our own education, but also to see if there were practical ideas that when implemented could reduce employees’ irritation. And there are. Over 1,200 of our readers completed our survey (within 24 hours of it being sent out!) On... Continue reading...

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December 7, 2016 11:00 am
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4 Core Characteristics For Success – In Life and Work

In my role as psychologist, I have evaluated over 4,000 individuals – usually with regards to learning difficulties they are experiencing.   In my feedback sessions, I often share with parents the core characteristics that make individuals successful in life. (I define “life success” as becoming an independent functional adult, having healthy relationships, and experiencing a level of happiness and contentment in one’s life.) If parents of developmentally challenged students focus solely on academic success (which is emphasized by their school community), then they can become quite discouraged.  But when we understand “life success” in broader terms – the goals are... Continue reading...

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December 5, 2016 1:31 pm
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Improve Employee Engagement by using the DISC assessment and the 5 Languages of Appreciation

  Employee engagement has been shown to be an important factor that predicts healthier and more productive organizations. As a result, thousands of organizations assess the level of engagement for their employees annually, and attempt to implement strategies and programs to improve their engagement from year to year. However, many leaders have found that it is not that easy to increase the level of team members’ engagement. This is especially true in the area of how to increase employees’ sense of being valued and appreciated for their contributions. The DISC and the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory are two online assessment... Continue reading...

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November 3, 2016 8:20 am
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Engage Others by Helping Them Understand You

Recently, I had the privilege of conducting some communication training for a group.  We had done some previous communication training together on foundational issues of listening, so they were ready to work on some additional skills for building relationships with others. The skill set we worked on was the ways you can assist the person with whom you are talking to better understand you. Providing the context of your thoughts was the skill we focused on.  When we give each other the context of our thoughts — that is, the reason or purpose of our sharing — this greatly enhances others’ ability tounderstand us.  And... Continue reading...

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October 19, 2016 8:00 am
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Tips for Telling Compelling Stories

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 her direct input, Stephanie replied, “John, let me tell you a story …” She went on to tell a story about an experience she 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.... Continue reading...

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October 11, 2016 11:31 am
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Be Careful about Trying to Show Appreciation During Unstable Times

While we know that good things happen when employees feel appreciated, communicating appreciation to staff is not a miracle salve that cures all wounds. Sometimes well-meaning supervisors (and sometimes leaders who don’t want to do the hard work of dealing with problems) try to use appreciation as a “quick fix” for deeper issues that need to be addressed. Here are five sets of circumstances when appreciation should not be the first action taken: Employees are not getting paid regularly. One time I was asked to train staff of a non-profit organization in how to show appreciation to one another. Throughout... Continue reading...

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September 26, 2016 2:05 pm
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Characteristics of Highly Successful Individuals

I have had the opportunity to work closely with business teams comprised of highly talented and successful professionals. Some of these high-powered teams work together well and achieve amazing results, while some of the teams are struggling a bit in working together effectively. And one of the teams had to reorganize because the team members couldn’t figure out how to work together. I’ve made some observations as well as pulled some information from other sources, about what needs to happen for a team of All-Stars to be successful as a team. Characteristics of Successful Individuals First, let’s look at some... Continue reading...

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September 16, 2016 9:00 am
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Should Appreciation Be Performance-Based?

One of the most frequent questions I am asked when I’m conducting training for a business is: Should you show appreciation to someone who isn’t performing well? 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 customers... Continue reading...

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September 12, 2016 12:08 pm
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6 Essentials for Full Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a big problem for organizations today. Research has shown that the vast majority of employees are not engaged, thus they aren’t giving their best efforts or aligning their behavior with organizational goals. A helpful way to understand how to engage employees is to consider the six universal human needs to thrive at work: respect, recognition, belonging, autonomy, personal growth and meaning. These are needs that people long to have met. And even if people are not consciously aware of them, subconsciously our human bodies are wired to have these needs met. When they are not met over time, it... Continue reading...

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July 19, 2016 2:00 am
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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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Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading With Compassionate Accountability

I (Nate) have always had a problem with the notion of conflict reduction, management, or mediation. All of these concepts imply that conflict is something to be lessened or eradicated, as if it’s fundamentally a bad thing. I’m not surprised that many people would view conflict this way. Look around: Divisive political rhetoric, religious polarization, and global ideological warfare. Everywhere you look, conflict is generating casualties. Negative conflict, manifested as workplace drama, costs the US economy over $350 billion per year in the currency of broken relationships, dysfunctional teams, morale and engagement problems, and failure to thrive. I believe that... Continue reading...

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May 6, 2016 1:27 pm
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2, 4, 6, 8 – Who Do We Appreciate? | Advice for Small Businesses

Have you ever had school day memories float back into your mind? They can pop in at the strangest times. I remember many celebratory events at school, both academic and sports related. At each kind of occasion a bunch of classmates would spontaneously burst into a cheerleading rendition of, “2 – 4 – 6 – 8 – Who do we appreciate?” Then they would spell out the name of the person being celebrated and loudly pronounce their name at the end of the cheer. It stirred up everyone’s enthusiasm then and still brings back pleasant memories to me now. Top... Continue reading...

April 25, 2016 10:03 am
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How to Create a Culture of Love at Work: 2 Myths & 4 Practices

You’ve probably been there at some point in your life—working in an environment where people treat each other rudely, betray trust, or exhibit indifference toward co-workers. A friend of mine who is a marketing executive described one of his bosses as a “screamer.” I’ve had clients who sought out therapy primarily because their work environment was causing so much stress. A manager I recently met with was struggling with how to handle a co-worker who repeatedly puts him down publicly in front of his peers. In a recent case study, when a nurse with a long tenure informed her supervisor that her... Continue reading...

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April 13, 2016 10:00 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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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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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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