This week I had the opportunity to spend a day working with Managers on Strengths-Based Management. The timing could not have been more perfect as this week we celebrate Employee Appreciation, and so many of the concepts of Strengths-Based management are centered around this often underutilized behavior, appreciation.

Every leader and manager in an organization holds the keys to ensure the organization has a culture of appreciation.

Why does employee appreciation even matter? I’ll answer that question, with a series of other questions (must be a coaching thing…). Have you ever asked your team to stay late when you have a tight deadline? Maybe work weekends or extra days of the week because you’re swamped or short staffed? I believe most of you have found yourselves in that position at one time or another.

Nobel prize winner and notable psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, states that in any given day we experience 20,000 moments, but we only really remember the moments that we anchor as positive or negative. Expressing appreciation towards your employees creates more of those positive memories that are anchored around their experience of working for you, of being a part of your team and your organization. Do you think that creating a culture of employee appreciation could help you when you need your team to go “the extra mile?” I’ll allow you to answer that for yourself.

The three P’s: Results of Engaged Employees

There are many ways that organizations measure employee engagement. Some organizational leaders and influencers of organizational culture focus on monetary rewards, creating perk programs, such as wellness program contests. All of these angles and initiatives are great, but do they have an impact on the type of engagement that they want to see? When I meet with leaders, they share they want engagement that increases productivity, profitability, and passion. The first two results are clear and common. Passion is not as evident, allow me to explain. When employees have passion you can feel that they are excited about their jobs, the contribution they make and the difference the organization makes to those they serve. You can sense this passion in the way the team gels together.

3 Tips to Show Employee Appreciation

Appreciate Talent – In order to accomplish turning one of the four keys of great managers, select for Talent, it’s critical that we first learn to appreciate the talent in our team.

Recognize your team members how they want to be recognized – sounds like the platinum rule right? Treat others as they want to be treated. Another key of great management is motivation. For each of your team members, do you know HOW they like to be recognized? Managing from a strengths-based perspective is so powerful, it provides a road map that tells you what their biggest contributions are (so you can help them develop it and recognize it within them) and what their biggest needs are. More often than not, I hear from employees how much they appreciate the verbal, personal recognition directly from their manager. Every person is wired differently and feels appreciated by being recognized in a way that best suits them.

Appreciate the Contribution of the Role – By human nature, we like to be appreciated as individuals. I’d be surprised if I asked someone, “Do you like to feel appreciated?” and hear them say “no.” Beyond being recognized as individuals, as members of a team and broader organization, employees want to know that the contribution made by their role is important, noticed and appreciated.

If you’d like to experience what kind of a difference appreciation can make, I invite you to take on the Appreciation Challenge!

Appreciation Challenge: 3-4 Drill

For 3 consecutive weeks (15 work days), start each day with appreciation:

  • Appreciate a different employee each day
  • Spend no more than 4 minutes sending that employee an appreciation note expressing something that you appreciate about them.
  • At the end of the 3 weeks write down your reflections on
  • How you felt by starting each day with appreciation
  • If you noticed any differences in employee interactions and perspectives

Allow Employee Appreciation day to serve as the beginning phase of self-reflection for how you lead. Do you know the answers to the questions posed above? Do you apply that knowledge with your team?

If you’d like to create or enhance a culture of appreciation, take a step further and apply these tips on an ongoing basis. Get dialed in with your strengths and those of your team and leverage them in way that’s rewarding to each team member and helps increase your organization’s productivity, profitability and passion!