Steps to Meaningful Affirmation

To affirm someone is to say something positive about someone directly to him or her. It is about saying something positive to the person about who he or she is. Or, it could be thanking someone for something he or she has done for you. Think of someone who has done something special for you. Maybe you think the person knows you appreciate the favor, but maybe you’ve never actually told him or her. Consider affirming that person directly, and see what happens. Let’s explore how to do that. Remove insincere phrases. First, remove phrases in your affirmation like “I... Continue reading...

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September 16, 2019 9:00 am
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Podcasts & Authentic Appreciation

Many people may not see any significant relationship between podcasts and authentic appreciation – but there is at least one. Podcasting is a form of communication which has developed rapidly over the past 5-10 years. Formerly, authors (now known as “content producers”) would share their ideas via a variety of media. Articles, books, and then blogs, communicated with the printed word. Radio and television shows and interviews used the oral and visual expression of one’s ideas. Many of these embodied the characteristics of “broadcasting” – casting out your information broadly, to a wide range of people – hoping that you would find those people... Continue reading...

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September 9, 2019 8:55 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 – all are 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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September 2, 2019 9:00 am
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Making Your Vacation Work for You: The 4 R’s

Labor Day is often seen as the unofficial end of summer, a last chance to spend time with family and friends before school shifts into full gear and autumn sweeps in. While the three-day weekend doesn’t afford as much time as a full summer vacation, it can still provide valuable time for a mental reset that can be beneficial to you both personally and professionally. Getting away from your home and your daily routine and responsibilities provides a needed mental break necessary to rejuvenate and re-energize. The Four R’s Rest. Try to schedule your vacation activities in a way that allows... Continue reading...

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August 26, 2019 8:55 am
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How to Show Appreciation Personally When You Oversee a Large Group

How do you communicate appreciation effectively when you manage large groups of employees? When I am conducting an Appreciation at Work training session with a work group, a common comment and question is similar to what 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.  But I have team members who report to me that I rarely see. They work a different shift or on the weekends and while we communicate through email, texts, and occasional calls, I really don’t have much... Continue reading...

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August 19, 2019 9:00 am
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Four Questions (and Tips) That Will Transform Your Culture

People grow into the conversations you create around them. The best tool great leaders have to strengthen and empower others is powerful questions. Questions evoke curiosity. They force others to think. And, when answered well, allow others to take ownership of the process and responsibility for the outcomes. It has been said that powerful questions can steer any conversation away from problems and personalities and move them toward meaningful solutions. Powerful questions evoke insight, stir creativity, inspire collaboration and help craft a culture of accountability. So, to that end, let me offer four questions that, when asked often and answered... Continue reading...

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August 12, 2019 9:00 am
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How Are the 5 Love Languages and the 5 Languages of Appreciation Related?

                              Many of you are familiar with The 5 Love Languages as described in Gary Chapman’s bestselling book have found them helpful in their personal relationships. Some may wonder if there is really any difference between the 5 Love Languages and the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. While the languages discussed in both books are the same in name, the application and expression of the languages in the work environment are quite different than in personal relationships. First, you shouldn’t assume that your primary... Continue reading...

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August 5, 2019 9:00 am
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Practical Tools Available to Apply the 5 Languages of Appreciation to Your Workplace

I like to say that, “Information without application is wasted grey matter.” As a result, a key focus of our work is to provide easy-to-use tools to help leaders and colleagues practically apply the 5 languages of appreciation to their daily work relationships. I want to share about the resources we have created (many of which are FREE) to let you know about the wide variety of tools available. I’ve divided them into categories to make them easier to find and use. Online Resources for Individuals and Groups (free) MBAI Group Report (new) Allows you obtain a summary report of... Continue reading...

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July 29, 2019 9:00 am
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Revisiting the Meaning of Vacation

In the summer months, I often reflect on the idea of “vacation” — what it is, what it means, and what it has come to mean in our culture. Vacation means “to vacate” — to leave, to get out of here, to get away from your daily setting and responsibilities. We get a different perspective on life when we get away from our daily routines. Fortunately, the growing popularity of the stay-cation has allowed even those in a tight financial situation to enjoy the benefits of ‘getting away.’ Vacation implies that you aren’t working. You are taking a vacation from work. At times, I... Continue reading...

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July 22, 2019 9:00 am
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Overcoming Busyness – Our Cultural Addiction*

Busyness seems to have risen to the level of addiction within our culture, and is even considered a badge of honor. 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?” What is Busyness, Really? 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.” At a foundational level, busyness is the experience of feeling like we have more to do than... Continue reading...

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July 15, 2019 9:00 am
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The Ways People Don’t Want to Be Appreciated

Have you ever: seen a colleague become extremely uncomfortable in the midst of receiving appreciation from their supervisor or manager? tried to show appreciation to one of your co-workers, and it really didn’t go well? been at a company recognition ceremony and watched with discomfort as an award recipient seemed to be in agony while in front of everyone? The focus of our mission at Appreciation at Work is to help colleagues and supervisors learn how to show appreciation to one another in the ways that are meaningful to that person. But we’ve found that people also want to identify... Continue reading...

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July 8, 2019 9:00 am
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The Strange World of Appreciation at Work: Kevin Durant Not Feeling Appreciated

Here is an example of how individualized and personal feeling appreciation at work is. Kevin Durant, the NBA star, has won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, two NBA Championship Finals MVP Awards, been selected to 10 NBA All-Star teams, helped lead his team to two NBA championships, and is paid over $100 million. And yet this week he is reported to have left the Golden State Warriors to play with the Brooklyn Nets because he didn’t feel appreciated by his fans. To most of us this seems incredulous — how can someone not feel appreciated when they repeatedly receive awards from their... Continue reading...

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July 3, 2019 8:51 am
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Reflections on the Fourth of July: Our Freedoms and Rights

I love the 4th of July holiday largely because we have a legacy of wonderful family get togethers that are a lot of fun (and we have done so for several years, which evoke a large number of fond memories for me). And our family celebrations have involved several traditions that I enjoy: being outside playing games, shooting fireworks, barbecuing with great grilled meat, swimming and boating, and watching a large firework show. So, almost always, the Fourth is a fun time. Celebrating the anniversary of our country’s Independence Day is also a great time to reflect on the numerous freedoms... Continue reading...

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July 1, 2019 9:00 am
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How to Grow Your Appreciation for Others – Learn to Value Them

What do I do when I don’t appreciate someone? 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. Secondly, don’t try to push through it and “make yourself” appreciate a colleague. (And you don’t have to feel guilty about it, either!) What we have learned over time is that to appreciate someone is both a heart issue and a behavior. And, like any feeling we may experience, you can’t force yourself to appreciate... Continue reading...

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June 24, 2019 9:00 am
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Introducing the Expanded Motivating By Appreciation Inventory

Almost 200,000 individuals across the world have taken the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory. This inspired us to look for ways to improve the results the inventory provides. Over the past two years we have deliberated, explored, and analyzed in order to create a new, expanded version which provides a fuller picture of how each person prefers to be shown appreciation and how they don’t want others to express appreciation to them. The Expanded MBA Inventory builds off of the foundation laid by the Basic MBA Inventory report (which is still available) by identifying each individual’s Primary, Secondary and Least Valued... Continue reading...

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June 17, 2019 9:00 am
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Building a Strong Team Culture: Valuing & Appreciating Differences in the Workplace

To build a successful and sustainable business, you need a team of employees who bring their unique abilities, strengths and perspectives to the challenges you will face. But to draw and keep talented individuals who have a variety of skills and personality types, you have to learn a key skill: You have to learn how to lead people who are different than you. Many books on leadership provide valuable insights into key skills and abilities needed to effectively lead others. But one concept that is not stressed enough is: to lead a successful team, you have to understand those who are... Continue reading...

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June 10, 2019 9:16 am
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7 Signs You Work with a Toxic Achiever & How to Cope

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

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June 3, 2019 9:00 am
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Memorial Day: What Are We Remembering and Why?

Memorial Day in the U.S. represents a variety of things to different people: A day off of work The beginning of summer Going to the lake Having a barbeque with friends and family The Indianapolis 500 Visiting family gravesites Veterans parades and celebrations Watching war movies For me, especially when getting together with children, teenagers & young adults, I start to wonder — what does Memorial Day mean to them? In some ways, maybe it doesn’t matter — “it is what it is” and it is their life. But, in other ways, I believe gathering together is important — for if we are not... Continue reading...

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May 23, 2019 10:23 am
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Improve Your Culture, Buy a Chicken!

I was having lunch with a friend who told me about an interaction that he had with one of his team members. Apparently, he caught wind that a young lady who reported directly to him was at her desk, crying inconsolably. After inviting her into his office, he began to inquire about what had upset her so. Being a newlywed, she was experiencing difficulty adjusting to married life and a number of challenges had come their way, compounding the stress. But, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was that her favorite chicken had died suddenly from an unknown... Continue reading...

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May 20, 2019 8:51 am
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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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How the 5 Languages of Appreciation Can Be Used in Coaching

In honor of International Coaching Week – which takes place from April 29th to May 5th this year – we are using this week’s blog to talk about Appreciation at Work’s coaching resources. Professional coaches can transform an organization and empower employees and leaders. They work with staff at all levels, developing leaders, management teams, and individuals who need to shore up their interpersonal skills. Whether you are an “external” coach (hired by an organization to work with their members) or an “internal” trainer (working within the HR or Talent Development department), you need practical, effective tools to use with... Continue reading...

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April 29, 2019 8:57 am
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A Candid Discussion about Hugging in the Workplace

  Fortunately, we live in an era where more people finally feel comfortable speaking up about unwanted touch and situations that make them uncomfortable. Conversations are being sparked by news from Hollywood, politics, and workplaces, as well as more casual encounters with family and friends. This leads many to ask: Is there any place for physical touch in the workplace? We believe there is a role for appropriate touch in work-oriented relationships. Early in our research, we found that less than 1% of employees choose Physical Touch as their primary appreciation language – and it is the most frequently chosen... Continue reading...

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April 22, 2019 11:20 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 Value of Appreciation: Convincing Skeptics

Many business and organizational leaders are skeptical about the value of appreciation.  Leaders frequently ask: *What benefits will I or my organization gain from training my leaders and staff in communicating appreciation to one another? *Why should we be concerned about whether our employees feel appreciated? *What’s the potential benefit for the time, energy and cost it will take? These questions are neither unusual nor unreasonable for those who are responsible for the financial well-being of a business. The world of work is a demanding environment with harsh realities and no one has extra time or energy to waste on... Continue reading...

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April 1, 2019 8:18 am
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How to Determine the Ways Your Team Wants to Be Shown Appreciation

Communicating appreciation effectively to those with whom you work is based on three foundational premises: Not everyone feels appreciated in the same ways. (And specifically, not necessarily through the ways you feel appreciated.) Hence, the effectiveness of using the 5 Languages of Appreciation to communicate in the ways valued by the recipient. Appreciation needs to be viewed as authentic to have a positive impact. Attempts to communicate appreciate which are perceived as disingenuous not only “fall flat”, but they can actually create damage to your relationship. The more specific the appreciation is, the more likely it will be perceived as... Continue reading...

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March 25, 2019 9:00 am
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How Do Most People Want to Be Shown Appreciation? Update from 175,000 Employees

Not long ago (2017), we published a research study on how 100,000 employees preferred to be shown appreciation by their colleagues and supervisors.  Based on the concepts presented in The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, the foundational principle that not everyone feels appreciated in the same ways was affirmed. Recently, we have had inquiries if the frequencies of desired appreciation languages have remained the same or if the additional individuals taking the inventory more recently prefer different ways to be shown appreciation.  So we did a quick update on the data from those who have taken the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory. Here is... Continue reading...

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March 21, 2019 5:57 pm
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How to Deal with Decisions about March Madness in the Workplace

Every Spring a national event captures the attention of millions of employees: the NCAA “March Madness” basketball tournaments. Individuals who are die-hard basketball fans, those who may follow their local college team when they are doing well, and people who just like to pick teams according to their mascots – all become intrigued and involved in following the games. Understanding March Madness While “March Madness” is typically referred to as a singular event, those familiar with the tournaments know that they actually are a series of games and regional tournaments over a three-week period. The process begins with “Selection Sunday”... Continue reading...

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March 18, 2019 9:00 am
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