Categories for Communication

Practical Tools Available to Apply the 5 Languages of Appreciation to Your Workplace

I like to say that, “Information without application is wasted grey matter.” As a result, a key focus of our work is to provide easy-to-use tools to help leaders and colleagues practically apply the 5 languages of appreciation to their daily work relationships. I want to share about the resources we have created (many of which are FREE) to let you know about the wide variety of tools available. I’ve divided them into categories to make them easier to find and use. Online Resources for Individuals and Groups (free) MBAI Group Report (new) Allows you obtain a summary report of... Continue reading...

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July 29, 2019 9:00 am
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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...

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July 8, 2019 9:00 am
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Leadership 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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May 6, 2019 9:00 am
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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...

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April 8, 2019 9:00 am
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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...

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March 25, 2019 9:00 am
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How to Deal with Decisions about March Madness in the Workplace

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

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March 18, 2019 9:00 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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How Personality Type and Languages of Appreciation Interrelate

People often comment, “I wonder how the Myers-Briggs and the 5 Languages of Appreciation might be related?”  We wondered about this, too, and so we conducted a research study to discover the answer. Categorizing people into distinct personality types has been an area of interest for millennia and numerous approaches to finding various dimensions of personality characteristics have been utilized. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® is a well-known approach to assessing personality which divides personality characteristics into four continua: Extroversion / Introversion Extroversion (E) – people oriented, talkative, outgoing Introversion (I) – inward focus, reflective, pensive, task oriented Sensing / Intuition... Continue reading...

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March 4, 2019 12:34 pm
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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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How to Deal with Condescending Colleagues

Spend any time in the workforce, and there is a high possibility that you will be made to feel “small” by a colleague talking down to you or devaluing your input.  Taking some time, however, to understand what motivates condescension, as well as learning some strategies to combat it, can help make working with colleagues who tend to be condescending much more tolerable. What motivates condescension? A person who is condescending in their comments toward others often: 1) wants to “win” the discussion, usually by squelching any dissent 2) uses the situation to boost their own self-esteem by tearing down... Continue reading...

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February 18, 2019 8:50 am
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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...

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January 14, 2019 9:00 am
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Do Remote Employees Want to Be Shown Appreciation Differently Than Employees in Face-to-Face Settings?

    More and more American employees are working remotely. In 1995 only 9% percent of American workers telecommuted, but in 2015 off-site workers increased to 37% In 2016, 43% of American workers reported they spend at least part of their week working remotely. It has been estimated that 50% of the U.S. workforce has job responsibilities that are compatible with working off-site at least occasionally and between 80% and 90% of the U.S. workforce reports it would like to work remotely at least part-time. The Importance of Appreciation in the Workplace Despite the evidence that appreciation is both desired and... Continue reading...

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October 22, 2018 9:00 am
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Do You Ever Get Discouraged?

You work hard, try your best, and still, things don’t work out as you hoped. You plan, prepare, think ahead — and yet, something unforeseen comes out of nowhere and creates another obstacle you have to overcome. Life, both at work and outside of work, is difficult (at times, at least.) What is discouragement, really?  Discouragement literally means, “without courage.” We lose that fighting edge to “go get ’em” and attack the challenges of the day. We lose heart. We are worn out. We wonder if “it” (our goals/our vision) is worth all of the time and effort we are... Continue reading...

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September 10, 2018 8:39 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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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...

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May 29, 2018 9:00 am
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Faculty & Administrators Share Suggestions for Showing Appreciation in Schools

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week and while educators are sure to receive gifts and notes from grateful parents and students, it is important to remember that they also need to be appreciated by their peers and managers. When writing The Vibrant Workplace, we interviewed a number of individuals in a variety of work settings to gain their thoughts about the specific challenges of communicating appreciation in their workplace, and ways to overcome the obstacles. The following answers are compiled from individuals who work in school settings and are familiar with our Appreciation at Work resources. Their responses reflect... Continue reading...

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May 7, 2018 8:58 am
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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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5 Languages Spotlight: Physical Touch

This Thursday, April 19, is National High Five Day, a great opportunity to discuss the most difficult love language to translate into a workplace setting – physical touch. When we first started investigating how best to apply the love languages to work-oriented relationships, we utilized all five of the languages, even though we knew it would be a challenge to translate the language of touch appropriately. We found that the number and variety of these actions are fairly limited (high fives, fist bumps, congratulatory handshakes, or a pat on the shoulder), but no less important. Many people ask, “Is there... Continue reading...

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April 16, 2018 9:12 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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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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March 12, 2018 9:00 am
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Build a Positive Relationship, No Matter Who You Report To

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. However, this dynamic has changed somewhat. Jared Lindzon, in this article about change and work, spoke to analyst Josh Bersin who says, “Most companies, even big companies, are much less hierarchical and much less top-down in their execution than they used to be. Leaders are finding that they have to be more inspirational, they have to be more collaborative.” In recent years, relationships with colleagues have become increasingly influential in the perception of... Continue reading...

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January 15, 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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Is Your Receptionist A Good Reflection of Your Culture?

A very quick disclaimer. At no point am I intending to disparage the amazing receptionists and front desk personnel whom I have been acquainted with, over many years, from hundreds of companies. Their job is not an easy one. They are the gatekeepers for the company. Customers and clients face them first whenever they enter a building or office. And they, like all employees hired for the various job responsibilities at a company, are a reflection of the culture and hiring process that recruited them. Let me explain why I am asking if your receptionists are a good reflection of... Continue reading...

December 11, 2017 10:00 am
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Neutralizing a Negative Workplace

At Appreciation at Work, our focus is on building positive, healthy relationships in the workplace, and we largely do this 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 as it exists, and another avenue to build positive relationships is to address the issues that interfere with that process. This is the focus of my new book, The Vibrant Workplace, which is subtitled: Overcoming the Obstacles to Building a Culture of Appreciation. Negativity is one of the most common, and deeply... Continue reading...

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July 28, 2017 11:53 am
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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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