I've come to learn that a little appreciation goes a long way. You know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when someone thanks you for your efforts? It's moments like these that keep you going – whether you're at home, at work or just getting through life. This is because appreciation embeds the precious thought that we truly matter.
Herzberg's two-factor theory states that there are certain factors in the workplace that cause job satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Feeling genuinely appreciated unleashes a motivation to achieve recognition again as a result of the satisfaction gained. However, when we are not supported we feel vulnerable, and the worry becomes preoccupying and drains our energy. This dissatisfaction prevents us from creating value at work, and the negative emotions associated are incredibly harmful to our health as they can lead to stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation.
Therefore, it is important to encourage positive culture in the workplace. It has the effect of high productivity and performance as employee worth is recognised and valued. According to Losada's research, positive feedback outweighs negative feedback in terms of performance as employees are able to reflect with meaningful action. Working within a positive culture also boosts employee satisfaction, retention, commitment and motivation.
A positive culture is a healthy culture; how can you embrace it in your workplace? Here are a few tips:
- Above all else, do no harm
At times it can be difficult to bite our tongues and restrain our inner beast. All you need to do is pause and give the situation a bit of thought. What will they take from your anger ridden criticism? Try to turn a negative situation into a learning experience by suggesting ways for improvement. First you must address the situation by clearly stating what was wrong, and from there you must support them by providing suggestions. People are more likely to learn from experience if they are given direction.
- Practice appreciation by starting with yourself
This is a very important step. If you have difficulty openly appreciating others, it's likely you will also find it difficult to appreciate yourself. You can do this at the end of the day by thinking about three things you are grateful for. Think about your strong attributes, accomplishments and what makes you, you. If you can't appreciate yourself immediately, think about things in life you are truly grateful for. This will start you off and make it easier day by day to identify personal attributes to appreciate.
- Make it a priority to notice what others are doing right
Once you've learned how to appreciate yourself, it becomes easier to tell others what you appreciate about them. Start by thinking about positive qualities, behaviours and contributions you currently take for granted among the members of your team. Then ask yourself, what is it that each of them uniquely brings to the table? Set yourself a goal to appreciate at least three colleagues each day and let them know!
- Be appreciative
The more specific you can be about what you value, the more positive your impact on that person is likely to be. A handwritten note makes a bigger impression than an email or a passing comment, but either are better than nothing at all. We implement the FISH! Philosophy at Overells and we regularly do a team activity where each person receives a page of paper with a colleague's name and it is passed around the table until everyone has handwritten a positive quality for every individual.
Authentically appreciating others will make you feel better about yourself, improve the self-worth of those around you and increase the likelihood that they'll invest more in their work and in you. A little appreciation truly goes a long way.