You would imagine that, with all that has been said and written about appreciation and saying ‘thank you’, there would be an abundance of it around.
So are you getting too much appreciation? Do you find that you have to filter out emails with “Thank You” in the title? Are you so fed up of thank-you calls that you have told your assistant not to put through any more?
I didn’t think so….
And yet building an appreciative culture is one of the most lasting and positive contributions you can make in your organisation: no matter how large or small that organisation may be.
So here’s something I want you to try out:
Choose someone you work with: a colleague, a supplier, an adviser. For this exercise, you don’t have to be on the same team. Think of something specific they have done that you appreciate: perhaps they found an answer to a difficult question, or put in a lot of effort, or made a significant contribution to a recent meeting.
Can you pick up the phone and tell them that you appreciate what they did?
“Sam, I was just going through my emails and I noticed that … Just wanted to say thanks; I particularly appreciate that ….”
Go ahead: do it now. And when finished, hang up. Please don’t mix it with any other requests or business or feedback.
What was the impact on Sam?
According to all happy coaching and training legends, the effect of appreciation on Sam will be sudden and dramatic. She will glow with pride, work harder, gain respect for her leader and the team will live happily ever after.
Indeed all of this does occur … but not always. It also happens that some Sams will stare blankly, mutter something and leave us wondering why we bothered. And a few will even become more demanding: looking for more recognition, more remuneration, and more attention as a result.
The first thing to remember is that these problems say more about the limits of human-beings than about the limits of appreciation. These Sams would exhibit these characteristics whether you were appreciative or not. You did not cause these characteristics by being appreciative and that is no excuse to stop the appreciation.
Try being appreciative and let me know what effect it has on you and your workforce.
The effect on Sam may well be that of growth. But what was the effect on you?