Categories for Vibrant Workplace

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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The Benefits of a Vibrant Workplace: Creating Harmony and a Positive Work Environment

“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 become 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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May 13, 2019 7:26 pm
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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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Employees Are People, Not Just Work Units

Let me pose some questions for you:   *Are you a person or just a production unit?   *Do you have a life outside of work? (Think: friends, family, interests)   *Are you a person, even at work, beyond your role there and what you get done? While performing one’s job as expected is critical, I firmly believe that people have worth and value no matter their level of performance. Every person is a unique individual created by God, and we all are intrinsically valuable—apart from what we do or accomplish. Many employees at all levels, including managers and supervisors,... Continue reading...

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April 15, 2019 8:22 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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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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What Employees Love & Hate about the Holidays

There are many factors to how holidays are handled in the workplace. Work schedules and demands, time off, decorations, and holiday parties all factor into how the season is incorporated into an office space and received by the employees who work there. Last year, we polled our readers to find out what they loved and hated about holidays in the workplace. We received nearly 3,000 responses! We explored both the good AND the bad because, well, that’s life! While we attempt to focus on the positive and provide hope for improving workplaces, we are also committed to being reality-based. So,... Continue reading...

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December 3, 2018 8:55 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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November 12, 2018 9:00 am
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What to Do When You Don’t Appreciate Your Colleague

Let’s be honest, some people are more difficult to work with than others. There are weird people; angry, irritable colleagues; people with a lousy work ethic, and people we just don’t understand. And appreciating these individuals can be even more challenging. Let me share a few tips on communicating appreciation to a “difficult” colleague: 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” when they believe others aren’t being genuine. You risk undermining any trust you may have with your colleague if they don’t think what you are saying or... Continue reading...

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November 5, 2018 9:00 am
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Change Goes Better When Staff Feel Appreciated

Change in the workplace is often inevitable. Change can be imposed by outside circumstances, like the marketplace, or be part of a larger institutional plan to create growth and improvement.  Yet often the focus is more on how to transition systems and processes, with many organizations ignoring the ‘people side’ of transitions. Regardless of the cause, managing reactions to change – uncertainty, resistance, low morale – can be made easier if you have begun to build a culture of appreciation. Interestingly, when employees feel truly appreciated for what they do and who they are, resistance to change can be reduced... Continue reading...

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August 27, 2018 10:05 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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Busyness & The Lack of Margin in Our Lives

One of the most common maladies in the 21st century is living lives that feel stressed and chronically overwhelmed. We are busy, tired, and we feel stretched – there always seems to be more to do than we have time or energy. When demands appear to be greater than our resources, the result in our lives is stress. We feel stressed in different areas of life: time, physical and emotional energy, relational demands and finances. Stress then displays itself in our lives in a variety of ways: irritability, anxiety, not eating well, poor sleep habits, not exercising regularly, making hasty... Continue reading...

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May 21, 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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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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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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GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES IN THE 5 LANGUAGES OF APPRECIATION

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive when I’m training groups is: “Are there generational differences related to the 5 languages of appreciation?” The simple answer is: Yes, there are. Just as there are individual preference differences in how employees want appreciation communicated, so we are finding some diversity across the generations of workers, as well. (As is true for any group comparison, these trends seem to be generally true but there are clearly individual differences within the generations.) (Dr. White discusses the declining importance of supervisor appreciation for Millennials in this video) Let me cite a few... Continue reading...

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March 5, 2018 12:20 pm
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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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The Benefits of a Vibrant Workplace

“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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December 4, 2017 10:00 am
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So You Are an Intern This Summer? What Should You Expect?

If you are one of the fortunate students who has landed an internship for the summer, congratulations. You have an opportunity to learn some practical skills in your field of study, add a valuable piece to your resume, and possibly make a little money (if it is a paid internship). There is a good chance you have never been an intern before, so you are not exactly sure what to expect. Let us fill you in – with both the good and bad news. Understanding the Full Time Employees’ Perspective For most FTEs (full-time employees), interns are viewed either as... Continue reading...

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June 5, 2017 10:00 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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How Do You “Appreciate” Difficult People at Work?*

 Let’s be honest, some people are more difficult to work with than others.  There are weird people; angry, irritable colleagues; and people we just don’t understand.  And appreciating these individuals can be even more challenging. Let me share a few tips on how to communicate appreciation to a “difficult” colleague:      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” when they believe others aren’t being genuine.  You risk undermining any trust you may have with your colleague if they don’t think... Continue reading...

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April 11, 2017 10:00 am
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The Vibrant Workplace: How to Build a Positive Workplace Culture

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

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April 6, 2017 12:38 pm
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