If You’re Grateful And You Know It…
Why Sharing (Your Appreciation) Is Caring
Ap·pre·ci·a·tion. It’s generally accepted as the recognition, approval, and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.
Feeling appreciated is important. Really important … and quite frankly, a lot of us are just bad at showing it. Not because we’re terrible humans and don’t care, but because we get so busy and caught up with life that we forget that it’s something that we not only need to have but also need to give.
Feeling appreciated is really important…and quite frankly, a lot of us are just bad at showing it.
Appreciation is so important that we set aside days for it throughout the year for just about anything you can think of—from our moms and dads, to our favorite foods, and even our jobs. There is a reason these days exist … and it’s not just to sell cards.
A piece from the Harvard Business Review summed it up beautifully and applies to all aspects of our lives: “Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up. At the most basic level, it makes us feel safe, which is what frees us to do our best work. It’s also energizing. When our value feels at risk, as it so often does, that worry becomes preoccupying, which drains and diverts our energy from creating value.”
Here’s the thing: It can’t be about just one day, once a year, and it most certainly shouldn’t be confined to one type of person giving and one type of person receiving. One-day and one-way sentiments feel like an obligation and—in some cases—disingenuous or an entitlement.
All Appreciation Is Not Created Equal
Appreciation, gratitude, kindness, empathy … all of these things need to be cultivated in our culture, and we need to practice them daily. However, it doesn’t have to look the same for everyone.
Appreciation doesn’t have to be complicated; it just needs to be authentic.
A thoughtful approach starts with an understanding of how individuals prefer to receive acknowledgment. Some people enjoy public recognition while others cringe at the very thought of the spotlight on them. The point is that you shouldn’t be afraid to simply ask someone where their comfort is. Regardless of the tactic, know this: appreciation has the most impact when it’s shown through action. It doesn’t have to be complicated; it just needs to be authentic.
At EPIC, we have a Kudos Board. We actually have two. One is a digital solution (a Slack channel) and the other is an actual board located at our office. The “real-life” Kudos Board is a colorfully decorated, old-school bulletin board with notepaper, markers, and more—everything you need to craft a shout-out to someone. It feels pretty good to find your name there. You know why? Because it comes from the heart. There are no prompts or have-to’s for this. Anyone can do it at any time.
Gift cards, candy bouquets, and promotional merch all have their place, but the list of possibilities to show appreciation is endless. Here are just a few examples:
- Snail mail. Who doesn’t love a surprise in the mail that isn’t a bill? Send a letter or postcard with a personal note.
- Celebrate! Make sure to recognize not just the wins but birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones.
- Want to send a gift? Make it customized and personal to the person on the receiving end.
- Quality time. Step away from work and create opportunities for outside-the-box conversations over lunch or coffee.
- Traveling trophy. Think white elephant but all year long! The more ridiculous the better, but find that something that can be awarded and passed on.
Make It A Habit
Ultimately, it takes intentionality. Make it a habit to acknowledge what is going well, what others are doing right, or even those little things that we sometimes take for granted with each other. It’s important and it also has an immediate positive influence:
- Boosts morale and productivity
- Shows respect and helps to build trust
- Deepens relationships and loyalty
- Helps to highlight what success looks like
Straight up, it makes people feel good to give and receive appreciation. Make time for it and make it part of your culture. You’ll be glad you did.