Making Things Right When You’ve Messed Up

We all make mistakes. Sometimes inadvertently. Sometimes we did what we thought was right (only to find out later, it wasn’t). And sometimes we just make a poor choice – for whatever reason. Making a mistake at work, to many of us, seems more serious than ones we commit in our personal lives. A misstep at work affects others, makes us look bad to our colleagues or boss, and may have serious ramifications on our work status. The Challenge of Acknowledging Our Errors For some of us, acknowledging to ourselves that we messed up is difficult. While admitting we made... Continue reading...

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February 14, 2022 9:00 am
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The Different Faces of Workplace Conflict

Not all conflicts look the same. And sometimes we don’t even realize there is tension in the air until someone points it out to us (“Have you noticed how standoffish Julie has been to us since that disagreement in the last team meeting?”). On the other hand, some individuals perceive friction when it doesn’t really exist in the other person’s mind. For example, you may think someone is upset with you because they have been “cool” toward you, when, in actuality, they are not very interactive because they are concerned about their mother who is in the hospital. Let’s lay... Continue reading...

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February 7, 2022 9:01 am
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Does the Conflict at Your Workplace Give You a Headache?

Understanding where conflict comes from Conflict at work happens – a lot. And it is a major source of stress for both employees and supervisors.  It shouldn’t take you but a few seconds to recall a tense moment in your workplace — to remember the discomfort of watching a not-so-friendly disagreement in a meeting. Or to relive the sting of a critical comment made in front of your colleagues. One study found that, on average, each employee spends 2.1 hours every week (or one day per month) dealing with conflict in some way. Either being directly involved in a disagreement,... Continue reading...

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January 31, 2022 9:00 am
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Tips for Developing a Culture of Appreciation: How to Get Past Being ‘Stuck’

Many of us have good intentions. We want to help improve our workplace culture, become more positive and supportive, and less combative and stressful. And many of us have tried, but have gotten stuck in their endeavors. Our efforts in introducing the 5 languages of appreciation to leaders and colleagues have either been met with a lukewarm response or started out well, but fizzled before getting off the ground (partly due to all of the challenges the COVID pandemic has created). But I would encourage you: Take heart! Steps can be taken to get you ‘unstuck.’ Remember: People Have Limited... Continue reading...

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January 24, 2022 11:20 am
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Appreciation Across Generations

How Preferences Among Different Age Groups Should Influence Your Recognition Strategies If you approach communicating appreciation and recognition to employees the same, regardless of their age group, you are at high risk for missing the mark – including wasting your time, energy and the organization’s money. Recent research with over 190,000 employees found that how they prefer to be shown appreciation varies significantly, especially for employees in the youngest and oldest generations. Utilizing the five languages of appreciation model, we found that while the pattern of preferred appreciation languages generally carries across age groups, a shift is occurring. Historically over... Continue reading...

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January 17, 2022 9:00 am
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Qualities of Highly Successful Teams

Working with a team of very talented, capable and successful professionals can be exciting and rewarding, these teams can also present challenges. But there are factors 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). Clear, designated leadership is critical; although it can... Continue reading...

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January 10, 2022 9:00 am
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Perseverance, Focus & Positivity

To begin the New Year, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about three key characteristics associated with success: perseverance, focus, and positivity. Perseverance Following up on last week’s blog on persevering to complete previous goals, here’s an image to consider. Focus When you focus on problems, you will find more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you will discover opportunities. Positivity And a couple of thoughts on positivity: I was called ‘pretty’ today!  Actually, the full statement was, ‘You are pretty annoying,’ but I only focus on positive things. *** “Sometimes when you are in a dark place, you... Continue reading...

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January 3, 2022 9:21 am
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My Surprising Goal for 2022

It’s that time of the year again – when we think about resolutions for the new year. Rather than considering a new list of “to do’s,” I’ve been thinking more about the role of perseverance in our lives, and in the lives of those who accomplish meaningful goals. While resolving to start new habits or achieve new goals is obviously a worthy endeavor, I believe sticking to and finishing those tasks not yet completed may be a better use of our time and energy. Our culture idolizes the “new” and really doesn’t think much of the boring, “steady as she goes,” day in... Continue reading...

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December 27, 2021 9:00 am
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How to Avoid Holiday Burnout: Tips for Managing Stress

“The holidays.” Those two words are packed with memories, fleeting media images and mixed emotional reactions. The Hannukah-Christmas-New Year’s holiday season has begun, and if you are like me, with them comes a rapid succession of excitement, anticipation, anxiety, wonder, and a sense of tiredness (and I haven’t even done anything yet). Practical advice and some you (probably) don’t usually hear. Stress is essentially the experience of having more demands in your life than the resources you have to meet those demands. More stuff to do (make food, travel to relatives) with the same time = stress. Experiencing more people and relationships than the... Continue reading...

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December 13, 2021 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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Should I Give Gifts to My Colleagues This Holiday Season?

Tips for Navigating Holiday Gift-Giving It’s the time of year when many of us are starting to think: “I’d like to get my colleagues (or boss) a gift for the holidays, but what? I don’t want it to look like I’m just trying to ‘look good.’ But I don’t want to give them some trinket that will come across as schmaltzy. What should I get them… if anything?” I’m going to give you some advice to consider, some of which may surprise you. Unfortunately, in most work settings, the way gifts are given (as well as what is given and when they are given) reinforce our negative... Continue reading...

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November 29, 2021 9:00 am
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Your Thanksgiving Celebrations Poll Results

Holiday Football, the 5-Second Rule, and the Popularity of Pumpkin Anything We recently asked you to share about your Thanksgiving celebrations and experiences and over 200 of you responded! Our staff enjoyed reading about your traditions and dishes – from the familiar to the ‘new to us.’ Your comments ranged from the common frustrations surrounding who hosts, what is served and dealing with annoying relatives to the anticipation of spending time with college-aged children who will return home, finally getting to meet new family members born during quarantine, games, laughter and spending time together in person. Eighty-three people answered our... Continue reading...

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November 22, 2021 6:13 pm
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Heads or Tail (Feathers)? Successes and Failures – Tell Us About Your Thanksgiving Celebrations

Recently, I wrote about humor in the workplace and thought it would be good to put some of the principles in action. And Thanksgiving seemed like a good time to ask about and share some successes and “fails” people have experienced over the years. While the Thanksgiving holiday and giving gratitude at work are important, I personally have become a little worn down by all of the reminders to “be sure and tell your colleagues you are thankful for them.” (If you do want something in that vein, read this past entry from our blog.) Let’s agree that is a... Continue reading...

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November 8, 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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How to Use Humor at Work to Lighten the Mood, Even If You Aren’t Funny

Humor, laughter and smiling are easy, cheap antidotes to negativity and difficult circumstances. Consider the following: Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. — Lord Byron Even the gods love jokes. — Plato If laughter cannot solve your problems, it will definitely DISSOLVE your problems; so that you can think clearly what to do about them. – Dr. Madan Kataria And while we don’t really need research to confirm what we all know experientially, here a few facts from the Mayo Clinic. Laughter:   *improves our mood   *decreases the stress we are experiencing   *increases oxygen flow to... Continue reading...

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October 18, 2021 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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October 11, 2021 9:00 am
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A Survival Guide for Managing Discussions about COVID at Work

Well, here we are, 18+ months into dealing with COVID-19 and, unfortunately, the challenges remain. And additional challenges have developed – not only dealing with the actual physical repercussions of the virus – but now having to manage a wide range (and varying intensities) of opinions about COVID-related issues: masks, the vaccine, mandates, safety of our children, new virus variants. The tension is thick in the air – within the culture at large, on the airwaves and internet, within families, and within workplaces.  A number of factors combine to create a significant sense of uneasiness for most of us:  ... Continue reading...

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October 5, 2021 7:00 am
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Build a Positive Relationship, No Matter Who You Report To

In the past, an employee’s relationship with their direct supervisor was found to be one of the most influential factors on whether or not the employee enjoyed their job. However, this dynamic has changed somewhat. Jared Lindzon, in 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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The Expanded MBAI & Introducing the Senior Care Version

Identifying how each person wants to be shown appreciation is critical to be effective in encouraging and supporting one’s colleagues. Otherwise, team members wind up guessing or taking a shot in the dark, which can obviously lead to missing the mark. Over 285,000 individuals across the world have taken the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory which has helped them identify their Primary, Secondary and Least Valued Languages of Appreciation, along with the specific actions they value most within their Primary Language of Appreciation and from whom they desire those actions. The Expanded MBA Inventory builds off of the foundation of the... Continue reading...

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September 13, 2021 9:00 am
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Practical Steps for Reducing the Stress of COVID-19

This blog is the second of a two-part series written primarily for those who provide services to our senior adults (but is applicable to us all). In last week’s blog we discussed that stress is the result when perceived demands are greater than perceived resources. This week we want to focus on ways to cope with and reduce stress. Steps for reducing your stress Incorporating this model of stress is vital for successfully coping with the daily demands in your life and how you lead others. This model provides four different ways to reduce the stress we experience in our lives:... Continue reading...

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August 30, 2021 9:00 am
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Navigating the Stress of the Long COVID-19 Journey

This blog is the first of a two-part series written primarily for those who provide services to our senior adults (but is applicable to us all). Given the ongoing struggles with COVID-19, we are concerned about the health and well-being of all employees, and especially those who give direct care in difficult settings (medicine, schools, long-term care, etc.). To aid in this process we have created versions of our Motivating by Appreciation Inventory for these settings – most recently for those who serve in Senior Care. The action items for each language of appreciation are tailored for the unique circumstances and demands... Continue reading...

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August 23, 2021 9:00 am
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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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How to Show Appreciation to a Large Team Without Burning Out

Each workplace setting and group of employees is unique, which is why the Appreciation at Work materials are designed to provide turn-key, practical resources to assist leaders and organizations in building 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 individualized.... Continue reading...

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August 2, 2021 9:00 am
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The Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Staff Turnover

You already know that emotional intelligence is important in leader/follower relations. What is the importance of emotional intelligence among team members? How does your level of emotional intelligence affect your colleague’s intent to quit? How does your colleagues’ competency in emotional intelligence impact your decision to stay where you are or look for a new team, possibly at a new company? Keep in mind that emotional intelligence is a skill that enables you to recognize, manage, and influence emotions in yourself and others. As you know, people are emotional creatures. People are also inherently communal. Mix ‘community’ with ‘emotions’ and... Continue reading...

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July 26, 2021 9:00 am
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Should We Focus on “Mental Health” in the Workplace?

Since the COVID-19 virus appeared, the focus on the mental health of employees has increased significantly. And rightfully so. As a result of the pandemic, major social changes occurred in 2020: “stay-at-home” orders, tens of millions of workers shifted to working from home, children were educated remotely, we were required to maintain social distance from one another (and cover our faces with masks). Family and community relationships were hindered. The practical consequences? Isolation. Dramatic changes in daily life routines. Uncertainty. These tectonic shifts in our lives shook our daily lives to the foundations and created an enormous amount of stress... Continue reading...

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July 19, 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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Neutralizing Negativity in the Workplace

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 I hear is, “What can I do to create more positive interactions in my workplace? People are so negative here!” At Appreciation at Work, our focus is on building positive, healthy relationships in the workplace, and we do this primarily 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... Continue reading...

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June 14, 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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