Categories for Managing By Appreciation

Build a Strong Team Culture: Learn to Value and Appreciate 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 need 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 not like... Continue reading...

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March 27, 2023 9:01 am
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Understanding Remote Employees’ Current Experiences and Perspectives

One key way to understand employees – what their daily life is like and what is important to them – is to ask them directly. We recently conducted a poll of 400+ remote employees to find out what they like and dislike about working remotely. It is important to note that a key factor leading to misunderstanding employees is to assume that all members of a group are similar. This seems to be the current case with regards to remote employees. Most discussions are about “remote employees,” as if they are all the same. But this is clearly not the... Continue reading...

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March 20, 2023 9:00 am
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The Key to Keeping Remote Employees: Personal Connection

We are in a weird stage in our culture. On the one hand, the levels of disconnectedness and loneliness are at record high levels for recent history. Although they may be surrounded by other people, individuals feel lonely. On the other hand, the advances in technology over the past one hundred years have allowed us to communicate with one another at a level unprecedented throughout all of human history. An event can occur on the other side of the globe, and we can learn about it (and actually become engaged in the interaction) within minutes. But we can easily feel overwhelmed with the... Continue reading...

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March 13, 2023 9:00 am
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How to Create Harmony and Positive Energy at Work: Building a Culture of Appreciation

A vibrant workplace draws people to it — quality, talented employees want to work in a healthy context. A vibrant workplace is the result of an organization that has a clear purpose and mission, is rooted in the resources necessary to grow, and whose individual members work together to grow the organization and produce quality goods and services. In healthy workplaces, employees bring their own gifts and unique personalities to add to the synergy of a dynamic work setting. This is particularly relevant right now. Recent research by the Sloan School of Business at MIT found that during the recent... Continue reading...

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March 6, 2023 9:00 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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February 20, 2023 9:07 am
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Communicating Appreciation to Remote Colleagues

Since a larger proportion of the workforce has moved to remote and hybrid work, it seems reasonable to ask whether employees who work remotely have different preferences for being shown appreciation than those who work onsite. To find out, we conducted a research study with almost 90,000 individuals who had taken our online assessment, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory. We found that Words of Affirmation continues to be the most desired appreciation language, but remote employees chose Quality Time as their primary language of appreciation more frequently (35% of employees) than workers on-site (25%). This finding seems logical – those off-site desire more... Continue reading...

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February 13, 2023 9:00 am
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Can My Language of Appreciation Change? Either in Different Work Circumstances or Over Time?

A question I am asked fairly frequently is whether a person’s preferred language of appreciation changes over time. We don’t currently have a definitive answer for that but we are in the midst of researching it. However, there are some helpful data points which provide some direction. As we work with companies and organizations across the world, we have the privilege to discuss a variety of specific issues with our clients, hear their questions, and receive feedback from them. Let’s explore some factors we have observed that affect the primary ways individuals like to be appreciated. Life Circumstances First, one’s... Continue reading...

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January 30, 2023 9:00 am
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How Can I Get Things to Change Around Here?

Change is difficult to accomplish – for individuals, groups, and especially organizations. While we can see the need for change, and want to help the organization (or our department) to function better, enacting change can be frustrating. In fact, there is a whole profession devoted to assisting organizations implement needed changes; they are called “Change Management Specialists (CMS).” The critical question is: What can you do when you are frustrated about the lack (or pace) of change in your organization? I’m going to give you some foundational, beginning steps with which to start and then refer you to an article... Continue reading...

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January 16, 2023 9:00 am
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We Need to Rethink Holiday Celebrations at Work – Especially Now

To be blunt – end of year holiday celebrations have become a significant source of pain for a lot of people. Planning (and experiencing) these events creates a lot of angst and anxiety – to the point that many have asked, “Why do we keep doing them?” The answer is often, “because we’ve always done them before.” Even though, by itself, this is a rather absurd answer, it actually points to the real reason workplace holiday celebrations continue: expectations. And when expectations aren’t met, bad results follow: disappointment, complaining, negative comments, unhappy people, and lots of questions (“Why didn’t we... Continue reading...

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December 5, 2022 9:00 am
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Words Aren’t Enough

A major misconception many people have is that communicating appreciation is essentially a verbal act – saying thank you, giving a compliment, or sharing with a colleague why you appreciate them. So, when people hear the term ‘appreciation,’ many automatically think of words. The problem is: this is only part of the picture. Consider the following: If You Have to Use Words . . . While Words of Affirmation is the easiest language for most people to understand and use, they aren’t always implemented effectively. We have found that following a few simple tips can make a significant difference. To... Continue reading...

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November 28, 2022 9:00 am
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Coping with Change Is Easier When Staff Feel Appreciated

Change in the workplace is inevitable. Previously, change largely stemmed from response to external circumstances, like marketplace forces, or they were part of a larger institutional plan to create growth and improvement. But since the advent of the COVID pandemic, change seems to be the only constant in the workplace. Changes in the foundations of how we work and where we work are ever evolving and lead to uncertainty, anxiety, resistance, low morale and more, all of which can take their toll on employees. The good news is, managing reactions to change can be made easier if the change occurs... Continue reading...

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October 31, 2022 9:00 am
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Are There Times When You Should NOT Communicate Appreciation?

Our business is built around encouraging leaders and colleagues to show appreciation to their coworkers and training teams to do so effectively. But there are times and situations when we recommend not communicating appreciation (or, at least, waiting). Sometimes, encouraging your colleagues is not the best course of action to take. In fact, doing so at the wrong time can actually backfire and create more problems. Here are some circumstances when you should reconsider whether or not to proactively communicate appreciation to those with whom you work: When a relationship is tense. If you are in a work relationship that... Continue reading...

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October 17, 2022 9:00 am
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Answers to Common Questions about Appreciation

When people are introduced to the concept of communicating appreciation in the workplace, a number of questions are frequently raised. Sometimes the questions seem more like a defensive response, with the individual putting up an obstacle that they hope will relieve them from having to take the topic seriously. But many times, the person seems to be thinking through how the concept would apply to their daily work life. So, let’s identify and address some of the most frequently raised issues. “I barely have time to get my normal, daily tasks done each day. How will I find the time... Continue reading...

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October 3, 2022 9:00 am
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Making Others Feel Good Is Not the Goal of Appreciation

Sometimes, when business leaders first hear about the 5 languages of appreciation, their initial response is, “Work is getting things done. I don’t care how people feel about it.” My response is that, while I understand their hesitation, the goal of appreciation isn’t to make others feel good (though that is a nice byproduct). The real goal is to help create a healthy, functioning organization. This distinction is important because good employees are not easy to find, develop or keep. And business owners and managers are at risk for misunderstanding how to keep their team members. Many believe their employees... Continue reading...

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August 29, 2022 9:00 am
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Overcoming the “Weirdness Factor” in Appreciation

Feeling awkward about communicating appreciation among team members is normal. This “weirdness factor” is a common reaction when the 5 languages of appreciation are first introduced and teams begin to implement the concepts. It can feel particularly uncomfortable to speak words of affirmation to a colleague you aren’t used to talking to, or aren’t sure what kinds of words to use. What are common signs of people feeling “weird” about the appreciation process? Fear. Fear that others will think you are communicating appreciation “just because we are supposed to.” Fear that people will think your communication is not authentic or... Continue reading...

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August 22, 2022 9:00 am
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Why We Do, What We Do, the Way We Do

Successful companies and organizations have certain core values and commitments that run throughout their corporate cultures and are often visible in the services they offer and products they produce. When you think about Hilton, Chick-Fil-A, Southwest Airlines and Mercedes Benz, you know what you will be getting as a customer. This is because they have worked hard to make certain priorities and behaviors a part of their DNA. (If you don’t like or have the same values they do, you choose an alternative provider.) Hilton and Mercedes Benz provide quality and luxury at a higher cost to the consumer. Southwest... Continue reading...

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July 18, 2022 9:00 am
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The Employees You Should Worry about Losing – The Average Ones

A disturbing long-term trend has been documented by research – that a vast majority (up to 87%) of the workforce is either not engaged (read: they are present physically but not mentally or emotionally), or are totally disengaged (they actually undermine the success of an organization).  This 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 Top & Low Performers A basic challenge in working together with others is that not everyone performs at the same level with regard to the quality and amount... Continue reading...

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July 11, 2022 9:00 am
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Creating Harmony and Positive Energy at Work

A vibrant workplace draws people to it — quality, talented employees want to work in a healthy context. A vibrant workplace is the antithesis of how many work environments are described: negative, energy-sapping, and toxic to growth. In healthy workplaces, employees bring their own gifts and unique personalities to add to the synergy of a dynamic work setting. This is particularly relevant right now. Recent research by the Sloan School of Business at MIT found that during the recent Great Resignation that employees cited workplace culture issues as the reason they were leaving by a factor of 10x in comparison... Continue reading...

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June 20, 2022 9:00 am
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The Challenge of Apathy

Recently, I was speaking to a group of organizational leaders about workplace culture, and I asked them about some of the more challenging issues they are seeing. One leader responded: “apathy” — to which numerous others nodded in affirmation. They went on to elaborate: “Younger leaders are more passive” “They seem willing to live with the status quo,” and “They lack passion — they don’t seem to have any ‘fire in their belly.’” The senior leaders I was training were asking: “What do I do?” “How can I motivate a developing leader who doesn’t seem interested?” Unfortunately, this is not... Continue reading...

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June 13, 2022 9:00 am
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The Importance of Peer-to-Peer Appreciation

In the past, an employee’s relationship with their direct supervisor was found to be one of the most influential factors in whether or not the employee enjoyed their job. So, when we first started applying the 5 languages to work-based relationships, our early focus was on training supervisors and managers in how to communicate appreciation effectively to their team members. While this was a good starting point, we quickly learned that to focus solely on managers and supervisors was too narrow and not all that was needed. Although most employees like to receive positive messages from their supervisor, hearing encouragement... Continue reading...

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June 6, 2022 9:00 am
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‘Appreciation’ May Not Be What You Think It Is

When you hear the word ‘appreciation,’ what comes to mind?  The answer may vary depending on the context of the situation. When it comes to financial investments, you want your assets to appreciate – to increase in value (this is also true for real estate and even your home).  In personal relationships, we often feel compelled to communicate appreciation (that is, gratitude) when a friend or family member has done something to help us out, like helping us move into a new home, or bringing a meal when you’ve just had a baby. Even in the workplace, a person’s response... Continue reading...

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May 31, 2022 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Gifts

When comparing the various Languages of Appreciation, it’s easy to see that employees overwhelmingly don’t choose tangible rewards as the primary way they want to be shown appreciation. Only 6% of employees identify tangible gifts as their primary language of appreciation. And they also choose tangible gifts as their least valued language almost 70% of the time. This is important to consider because most employee recognition programs emphasize giving gifts. While there is obviously nothing inherently wrong about this, companies end up wasting millions of dollars giving gifts to employees that aren’t wanted and do little to improve performance. This is especially... Continue reading...

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May 23, 2022 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Quality Time

Many people assume that appreciation is always communicated verbally. While using words is one way to show staff members that you value them, many employees prefer appreciation shown through the language of Quality Time. In fact, Quality Time is the preferred appreciation language for 26% of employees in the U.S. (or, one of every four of your colleagues.) By Quality Time, we mean spending time with a colleague either by giving the person your focused attention, working collaboratively with them, or (for some people) just “hanging out.” You are showing that you value them by giving them your most precious resource:... Continue reading...

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May 2, 2022 9:00 am
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How Much Evidence Do You Need?

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut — and breaking out of it is difficult. Sometimes we get busy and put things we want to do on the back burner. And sometimes we’re waiting for more evidence to convince us. Well, friends, the time to act has arrived. Here are the facts on the current state of employment in the United States: Finding and hiring new (and qualified) employees is incredibly challenging. Recent research has shown that employees who are quitting their jobs are 10 times more likely to be leaving because of toxic cultural issues than for better compensation.... Continue reading...

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April 25, 2022 8:18 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. And business and organizational leaders are constantly reminded how important it is to communicate appreciation to their staff — and it is. But sometimes a simple ‘thank you’ isn’t said often enough. When employees feel truly 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, they are more likely to show up for work (and on time), follow established policies and procedures, and... Continue reading...

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April 18, 2022 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Acts of Service

“Don’t tell me you care; show me.” This is a phrase often heard from those whose preferred language of appreciation is Acts of Service. For them, actions will always speak louder than words and they feel appreciated when others reach out to help. Over 1 in 5 employees (22%) have Acts of Service as their primary language of appreciation (with another 15% having it as their secondary language). So over one third of your coworkers value appreciation shown through practical actions that will help them do their work more effectively. How you help out a colleague really is situation specific.... Continue reading...

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April 11, 2022 9:00 am
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Understanding Employee Retention: People Are Loyal to People, Not Organizations

The Great Resignation which has occurred over the past two years is not just an abstract concept – it impacts our everyday lives. Lack of service (calling the customer service department of any major company results in a minimum of twenty minutes on hold), restaurants closing due to lack of sufficient employees, delays in residential construction because there aren’t enough tradesmen to do the work, wait times of months when ordering appliances – the list seems endless. Whether the pattern of continued resignations will continue is not clear. But it appears we have moved from the Great Resignation to the... Continue reading...

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March 28, 2022 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Words of Affirmation

How to Use Words of Appreciation Effectively While Words of Affirmation is the easiest language for most people to understand and use, it isn’t always deployed effectively. Supervisors and managers often use words to encourage their team members. Compliments, a simple thank you, praise in front of others – are all examples of common uses of words to send positive messages in the workplace. We have found that following a few simple tips can make the use of words more effective in showing appreciation and encouragement to colleagues (and help you avoid some common errors, as well). To be most... Continue reading...

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March 21, 2022 9:00 am
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Sync or Swim: A light read about difficult situations and 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 –team members spread out, supply chain challenges, and being short-staffed. Sync or Swim helps you understand underlying issues that will assist you and your team as you work through these challenges. 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.” (It is also is a great way to introduce friends, family and colleagues to the 5 languages of appreciation.) Humans are hard-wired... Continue reading...

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December 6, 2021 9:00 am
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We’ve Been Fact Checked (and We Were Right!)

HBR reports research demonstrating appreciation improves productivity The Harvard Business Review recently published an intriguing article, “5 Things High-Performing Teams Do Differently” based on research findings by Dr. Ron Friedman.   “New research suggests that the highest-performing teams have found subtle ways of leveraging social connections during the pandemic to fuel their success. The findings offer important clues on ways any organization can foster greater connectedness — even within a remote or hybrid work setting — to engineer higher-performing teams.” And (surprise!) three of the five key characteristic actions they cited are core principles we teach in our Appreciation at... Continue reading...

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November 1, 2021 9:00 am
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