Categories for Managers

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 an 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, both the structure of work teams and physical office... Continue reading...

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September 20, 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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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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Working From Home: How the Concerns of Employees and Managers Differ

Recently, we conducted a national survey with over 500 employees and organizational leaders. We wanted to find out the issues that remote and working from home (WFH) employees were currently most concerned about. Last week, we reported the results for the group as a whole (all of the respondents together). Two concerns were rated more highly than the rest (a total of 22 issues were offered): *The emotional and mental health of team members (75% of respondents rated this as an extreme or moderate concern) *Work / life boundaries (~70% of participants identified this as being at a moderate or... Continue reading...

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September 28, 2020 1:58 pm
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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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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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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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7 Signs You Work with a Toxic Achiever & How to Cope

Toxic achievers pose a serious dilemma for business owners, managers, and supervisors. On the one hand, they get the job done — quickly, and more successfully than their peers. So, their work production or sales numbers look great. But, on the other hand, they create major headaches due to the way they relate to others, their negative conflictual attitude, and their propensity to frequently want “exceptions” to company policies and procedures. 7 Signs of a Toxic Achiever How do you know if one of your team members is a toxic achiever, or just a pretty good producer who can be... Continue reading...

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June 3, 2019 9:00 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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Are You Too Busy To Learn How To Overcome Busyness?

A change in perspective can make a difference Are you tired – mentally, emotionally (& physically)? Do you have more to do than you have time & energy? Are you overwhelmed in trying to manage all of your emails, texts, & voicemails? I’d bet you also are behind in reading all of the blogs, articles, and books that you feel you should. You probably feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Or just worn out. Welcome to the Busyness Club. I feel that way too. Your team members do. And so do your clients. A Personal Story… I grew up in a conservative... Continue reading...

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October 1, 2018 9:47 am
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Do millennials want to be shown appreciation differently?

The workforce is changing rapidly, with the number of millennial employees expected to surpass baby boomers (individuals in their late 50s and older) by 2019 and they will comprise nearly half of the total working population by 2020. Organizational leaders and HR professionals affirm knowing and understanding your employees is critical in order to have (and keep) an effective workforce, thus, distinguishing and addressing the differences between employees of different age groups is important. Adjusting to the characteristics and desires of younger employees has been the source of much research.  The Gallup Group found that the majority of millennials (55%)... Continue reading...

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September 16, 2018 6:36 pm
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Combating the ‘My-Boss-Is-a-Jerk’ Blues

It’s still possible to find fulfillment at work when your supervisor is a moron. Two common mantras in our culture today are: “I hate my job” and “My boss is a jerk.” While both statements may be true, hating your job because your boss is a jerk isn’t going to lead anywhere good. According to Gallup, more than half of the U.S. workforce (or about 70 million employees) either are just enduring their job or actively hate where they work. With that level of dissatisfaction, it’s no surprise that we hear so many negative comments – either in personal conversations,... Continue reading...

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August 30, 2018 6:02 pm
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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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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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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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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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How the Grinch Stole Appreciation at Work (and how to get it back)

It’s a Christmas classic. Every year we enjoy the journey of the Grinch — from ninja-level curmudgeon, to repenting of his ways and then saving the day. The Grinch remains an interesting character. He’s so filled with anger and resentment that it clouds his vision and certainly his judgment. He embarks on a journey that he thinks will fill the hole in his small and fragile heart. Yet, as we know, the results of his mayhem left him cold and wondering why there was no joy or satisfaction. It was not until his ‘ah ha’ moment that things changed for... Continue reading...

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December 21, 2017 10:05 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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The Importance of Peer to Peer Appreciation

Our work is growing in scope and impact (for example, medical practices and hospitals, large corporations, banks, government agencies, public schools, universities, manufacturing firms, insurance agencies, the military.) But we also have been getting some interesting feedback as we listen to those with whom we work. One repeated message we are hearing is: Supervisors are not necessarily the individuals most concerned about supporting and encouraging those with whom they work. While we don’t want to disparage managers, employers, supervisors or team leaders; as a group, they often are not the ones who communicate the most excitement in finding out their colleagues’ preferred languages of appreciation and the... Continue reading...

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April 20, 2017 8:00 am
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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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Don’t Be a Turkey in How You Show Appreciation 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 “I’m off. You’re not. Enjoy the weekend!” message. This... Continue reading...

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November 15, 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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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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How to Find Good Employees: 3 Ways Communicating Appreciation Can Help

The news is repetitive and blaring:  employers are complaining about the inability to find qualified applicants for positions that need to be filled.  The discussion is rather ironic — having 10+ million workers who can’t find work, while employers report they can’t find potential employees who meet the needs they have. The issue impacts multiple industries.  The key term to understand: qualified applicants.  “Qualified” does not just mean educated or trained; it also involves character. As one employer told me, they can’t find workers who can meet all three conditions necessary to work there:  a) they have the training necessary... Continue reading...

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August 31, 2016 2:01 pm
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Practical Suggestions for Showing Appreciation in Day to Day Work Life

One of the most common questions we receive is: “How do you keep the concept of communicating appreciation going in the workplace?” We have found the following action steps to be extremely helpful in helping appreciation and encouragement become part of a workplace culture: Start your staff meetings with reports of examples of appreciation & encouragement being given.  Reinforce the importance of appreciation by starting meetings with team members sharing examples of receiving appreciation or observing someone else encouraging a colleague.  (If you wait until the end of the meeting, you’re at risk of “running out of time.”)  At the beginning, share... Continue reading...

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August 25, 2016 1:00 pm
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Why Cynicism is Good for The Workplace

It seems counterintuitive, but cynicism can be a positive influence in our workplaces. How? When people are cynical, they are giving us honest feedback about how they really feel. When was the last time that you heard a cynical remark from a colleague and you accused them of not being honest regarding how they really feel? (Aside from the sarcastic remark: “So, Janice, tells us how you really feel!”) Cynicism communicates from the heart, so you don’t have to question whether the person is being honest with their comment. Cynical remarks give us a reality check with what was said,... Continue reading...

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August 22, 2016 12:16 pm
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