Categories for Vibrant Workplace

How to Overcome Common Obstacles to Creating a Culture of Appreciation

While creating a workplace culture rooted in appreciation is fairly straightforward, a number of practical challenges also exist. Even though research has shown that teaching leaders and colleagues how to communicate authentic appreciation to one another can make their workplaces more positive, getting everyone on board can be difficult. After working with numerous organizations to implement the 5 languages of appreciation, we noticed some common challenges and patterns emerge. As a result, we wrote The Vibrant Workplace – Overcoming Common Challenges to Creating a Culture of Appreciation, where we identify and address ten common impediments. You Are Not Alone One... Continue reading...

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May 27, 2024 11:07 am
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Appreciation within a Production-Oriented Work Culture

Isn’t Focusing on Appreciation Counterproductive in a Production-Oriented Workplace? Absolutely not! Recently, I’ve had some interesting experiences on opposite ends of the spectrum regarding how production-focused workplaces can function. On the one hand, I visited a parks and wildlife center where three employees were “working.” But while I was there, they just sat, doing nothing, not talking to each other and only occasionally scrolling on their cell phones. On the other end of the continuum, I conducted training with an organization who clearly “produces.” They are viewed as one of the premier global institutions in their field of expertise, and... Continue reading...

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May 20, 2024 9:00 am
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Why We Create Versions of the MBA Inventory for Different Workplace Settings

When we first launched our online assessment tool, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory, it was geared toward a general workplace setting. Since then, we have created an expanded version, translated it into 8 different languages and have created 11 different industry-specific versions for Remote/ Long Distance, Medical, Military, School, Non-Profit/ Ministry, Government, Senior Care, Trades, Veterinary, and Dentistry. We are frequently asked, “Why do we create industry-specific versions of our MBAI assessment?” Here are a few of the factors that lead to their creation: *Our goal is always to provide relevant, practical and easily applied resources to help team members... Continue reading...

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May 13, 2024 9:56 am
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Want to 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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April 22, 2024 8:54 am
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Picking Up Cues Your Colleagues Need Some Encouragement

You may be surrounded by co-workers that need to feel appreciated and be encouraged, and you may not know it. While some people show visible signs on their faces or in their body language that reveal they are getting discouraged or nearing burnout, many people are harder to read. They may not say much or have non-demonstrative facial expressions. Additionally, some of us are not especially talented at picking up subtle clues sent out by others. Here are some clues that you can watch for to help you know when your coworkers may need a message of appreciation or encouragement:... Continue reading...

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March 4, 2024 9:25 am
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What Can I Do If I Really Don’t Appreciate a Coworker?

Let’s be honest, sometimes we have a hard time appreciating some of our colleagues. The reality is, some people are more difficult to work with than others. There are weird people, angry, irritable colleagues, people with a lousy work ethic and poor communication skills, and those that aren’t friendly or have negative attitudes. And there are others we just don’t understand or click with. What can you do? Here are a few tips: Don’t try to fake it. Whatever you do, don’t try to act like you appreciate someone if you really don’t. Most people have very sensitive radar for when others... Continue reading...

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October 16, 2023 9:27 am
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Do Your Colleagues Need Some Encouragement?

You may be surrounded by co-workers that need to be encouraged and feel appreciated, and you may not know it. While some people ‘wear signs’ on their faces or in their body language that show they are getting discouraged or nearing burnout, many people are harder to read. They may not say much or have non-demonstrative facial expressions. Additionally, some of us are not especially talented at picking up clues sent out by others. Here are some clues that you can watch for to help you know when your coworkers may need a message of appreciation or encouragement: Irritability and... Continue reading...

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October 2, 2023 8:58 am
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Creating a Culture of Appreciation: How to Get Past Common Challenges

While creating a workplace culture rooted in appreciation is fairly straightforward, a number of practical challenges also exist. Even though research has shown that teaching leaders and colleagues how to communicate authentic appreciation to one another can make their workplaces more positive, getting everyone on board can be difficult. After working with numerous organizations to implement the 5 languages of appreciation, we noticed some common challenges and patterns emerge. As a result, we wrote The Vibrant Workplace – Overcoming Common Challenges to Creating a Culture of Appreciation, where we identify and address ten common impediments. You Are Not Alone One... Continue reading...

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September 18, 2023 12:26 pm
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Overcoming Our Cultural Addiction to Busyness

Busyness seems to have risen to the level of addiction in our culture, and is even considered a badge of honor to some. When, for example, have you heard anyone report: “I’m doing great. I’ve got lots of extra time and energy to do what I want?” But how do we break this unhealthy cycle when it encouraged by many in our society? What is Busyness? To reduce busyness in our lives, we have to first understand what busyness is. Is it a set of behaviors? Is it an attitude? Or a perspective on life? Most people respond: “All three.”... Continue reading...

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August 21, 2023 10:00 am
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5 Misconceptions about Workplace Culture (and How You Can Make a Difference)

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

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July 31, 2023 9:38 am
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Can Appreciation Cross Cultures? Or Is It 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. And from these experiences I’ve learned that appreciation and vibrant workplaces aren’t limited to certain cultures. And, more importantly, the need for appreciation in the workplace is deeply felt by the leaders and employees who work in these countries. Lessons from a Multinational Training Experience A few years ago, I had the opportunity to train 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,... Continue reading...

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July 24, 2023 9:30 am
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How Do I Make Appreciation Stick?

A question I frequently hear from those trying to create a culture of appreciation in the workplace is: “How do we continue the efforts over time so that a real change occurs?” This is always an encouraging question to be asked because it points to the individual’s desire to really make a difference in their workplace rather than just go through the motions or do a one-and-done training event. Let me share five guiding principles that can help appreciation “stick” in your workplace: Finally, the most important factors to help appreciation stick in your company’s culture are to utilize the... Continue reading...

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May 22, 2023 9:00 am
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I Want Employees with a Good Work Ethic. What Does that Mean Practically?

When I ask business owners and managers what they are looking for in potential employees, “a good work ethic” is always one of the characteristics cited. (This is also a frequent response from parents when they are asked what character qualities they desire for their children). Unfortunately, there are many factors in modern society that have undermined our work ethic to the point that one of the major complaints in our culture today is employees’ lack of motivation and drive. Most people have a general idea of what a good work ethic is, but when asked, they struggle to define... Continue reading...

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May 1, 2023 9:22 am
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Showing Appreciation When You Manage a Large Team: How to Be Effective, Personal and Avoid Burnout

Each workplace setting and group of employees is unique, which is why the Appreciation at Work materials are designed to provide practical, easy to use resources to help leaders and organizations build healthy workplace cultures. But sometimes there are challenges based on the structure of the industry, limited budgets, or the size of a work group that need special attention. Overseeing large teams is one of those unique circumstances. One example comes from 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... Continue reading...

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April 10, 2023 8:15 am
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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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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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What Can You do When You Really Don’t Appreciate a Coworker?

Let’s be honest, sometimes we have a hard time appreciating some of our colleagues. The reality is: some people are more difficult to work with than others. There are weird people; angry, irritable colleagues; people with a lousy work ethic, and those that aren’t friendly (gruff would be a better descriptor). And there are others we just don’t understand or click with. What can you do? Here are a few tips: Don’t try to fake it. Whatever you do, don’t try to act like you appreciate someone if you really don’t. Most people have very sensitive radar for when others aren’t being... Continue reading...

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September 26, 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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How to Get Past the Most Common Challenges to Creating a Culture of Appreciation

While creating a workplace culture of appreciation is fairly straightforward, a number of practical challenges also exist. Research has shown that teaching leaders and colleagues how to communicate authentic appreciation to one another can make their workplaces more positive. And the impact has been demonstrated in medical settings, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, multinational corporations, financial institutions and manufacturing firms. (Read the recent New York Times business section article* on the 5 languages of appreciation.) But, like trying to implement any change, obstacles can arise. After working with numerous organizations to implement the 5 languages of appreciation, we noticed some... Continue reading...

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March 14, 2022 5:35 pm
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Making Appreciation Stick

A common question I am asked by those trying to help create a culture of appreciation in the workplace is: “How do we continue the efforts over time so that a real change occurs?” This is always an encouraging question to be asked because it points to the individual’s desire to really make a difference in their workplace rather than just “go through the motions” or do a “one and done” training event. Let me share five guiding principles that can help appreciation “stick” in your workplace: Utilize small actions over time. As a friend once mentioned to me, “Most... Continue reading...

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August 16, 2021 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. (Our book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, has been translated into 27 languages.) Lessons from a Multinational Training Experience A few years ago, I had the opportunity to train 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 from over... Continue reading...

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May 31, 2021 9:00 am
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Getting Leadership Onboard for Appreciation at Work

Whenever I speak to a group of employees, supervisors, or HR managers, inevitably I hear something like the following: “What am I supposed to do if our management team isn’t interested in appreciation? They are focused on achieving goals and the bottom line – they think communicating appreciation is stupid and a waste of time.” Many leaders aren’t opposed to appreciation. They just don’t understand what communicating appreciation really looks like in daily work life, what it isn’t, and what they can realistically expect appreciation to accomplish in their organization. In recent years, the emphasis has been more on employee... Continue reading...

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May 17, 2021 9:00 am
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How Authentic Appreciation Can Make You Less Busy

Busyness, especially unnecessary and unproductive busyness, is similar to the unhealthy rapid growth that can happen in plants – sending out new shoots (known as suckers) not related to the core growth of the organism. Busyness eats up resources (time, energy, money) for activity that may not be healthy for the organization or its members. As a psychologist, I’m supposed to know something about behavior change, and how to help people change patterns of behavior and habits. One of the factors that we know improves the likelihood of changing behavior is if the new behavior is closely related to an... Continue reading...

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May 3, 2021 9:00 am
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Learning to Appreciate Difficult Colleagues

What do I do when I don’t appreciate one of my co-workers? Some people are more difficult to work with than others. Human beings can be weird, angry, irritable, and aggravating. They can have a lousy work ethic, poor communication skills and negative attitudes. Appreciating these individuals can be even more challenging. Here are some tips on how to grow your appreciation for a difficult colleague. First and foremost, don’t try to fake it. Trying to act like you appreciate someone when you actually don’t typically doesn’t go well, and perceived inauthenticity will undermine any trust that may exist in the relationship.... Continue reading...

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March 8, 2021 7:35 am
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The Benefits of a Vibrant Workplace: Creating Harmony and Positive Energy at Work

Vibrant: full of energy and enthusiasm. Spirited, lively, energetic, full of life. The vibrant workplace connotes energy, positivity, and growth — characteristics we desire for the environment where we spend the majority of our waking hours. A vibrant workplace draws people to it — quality, talented employees want to work in a healthy context and became a part of the life-exuding process. Employees bring their own gifts and unique personalities to add to the synergy in a dynamic work setting. A vibrant workplace is the antithesis of how many work environments are described: negative, energy-sapping, and toxic to growth. Employees... Continue reading...

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August 17, 2020 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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August 3, 2020 9:00 am
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How Authentic Appreciation Can Make You Less Busy

Busyness, especially unnecessary and unproductive busyness, is like the unhealthy rapid growth that can happen in living organisms like plants. Busyness eats up resources (time, energy, money) for activity that may not be healthy for the organization or its members. As a psychologist, I’m supposed to know something about behavior change, and how to help people change patterns of behavior and habits. One of the factors that we know improves the likelihood of changing behavior is if the new behavior is closely related to an existing behavior. So, for example, if you want to start an exercise program, you are... Continue reading...

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March 9, 2020 9:00 am
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Neutralizing Negativity in the 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 building positive relationships is to address the issues that interfere with that process. Negativity is one of the most common, and deeply ingrained, obstacles to a healthy work environment. When working with front-line employees, supervisors and mid-level managers in a variety of industries, a frequent question... Continue reading...

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February 17, 2020 9:00 am
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Avoiding Mistakes: How Others Don’t Want to Be Shown Appreciation

While the primary focus of our work with the 5 languages of appreciation has been to help individuals learn how to communicate authentic appreciation in the ways meaningful to one another, we’ve learned that the ‘flip side’ is also important. That is, how do you avoid inadvertently using actions to show appreciation that your coworker clearly doesn’t want? The goal is to communicate positively with one’s colleagues, so making them uncomfortable or even offending them is not what anyone really intends. Since, as an organization, we are committed to learning, growing, and improving, we undertook the process to explore the... Continue reading...

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January 13, 2020 8:50 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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