Taking time to show genuine appreciation at work is a much-neglected activity, and most workplaces are poorer for it, writes author and director at management training firm The Oxford Group, Nigel Purse.
When I ask business leaders when they last showed appreciation to a member of staff for their contribution towards a project, the majority have to scratch their heads and think back to the last few weeks or months.
Showing genuine appreciation means concentrating on what people are doing well at work and how their unique strengths and talents are contributing to their success.
Without genuine, spontaneous appreciation for hard work, there is very little opportunity to explore the potential to make more of these strengths in other aspects of their work, or elsewhere in the organisation. Here are three reasons why showing genuine appreciation is important in today’s startups and small businesses.
(1) The need to feel valued
It won’t come as much of a surprise when I say that people need to feel valued at work in order to give it their best.
Every member of staff, regardless of profession and employment level, needs to feel like they are contributing to something worthwhile, and making a difference to the company. There is no better way to achieve this than giving each member of staff full attention, even if just for a few minutes, to explore their achievements and the reasons behind them.
If other employees see this happening, they are also more likely to make an extra effort to receive positive feedback and appreciation.
Another buzz word when discussing employee motivation in small teams of workers is self-confidence. We are all our own harshest critics and often take for granted the things we do well. However, when managers point out these strengths, it highlights something that the team member has potentially overlooked.
It also makes them realise that actually what they are doing is having a positive effect on the business. Making members of staff self-aware deepens their confidence and allows them to move closer to mastering their role by constantly learning, growing and improving.
(3) Secondary business impact
Just as important as the these two points, but perhaps less obvious, is the secondary effects on your business overall. With appreciative leaders, staff will gradually build deeper and more trusting relationships whilst creating loyalty and engagement within the team, which will in turn contribute towards sustained high performance.
Leaders can’t be alongside every team member every day to witness the challenges they face first hand, however sitting down to discuss progress and achievements provides the perfect opportunity to gain valuable insights that will enable managers to drive innovation and continuous improvement.
Lastly, businesses benefit from understanding the hidden potential and wider talent pool it has within. Rather than relying on external recruitment, it is possible to develop an internal talent pipeline, as colleagues come to deeply understand the true potential of your people.
Showing genuine appreciation to employees is often forgotten about, but it is extremely important for each member of staff, manager and the business as a whole.
With benefits ranging from improving someone’s self-confidence and their sense of value within the company, to gaining the chance to delve into hidden talent pools and building trusting relationships, there are numerous reasons why each leader within a business should take time out of their day to show gratitude and appreciation when staff go above and beyond to complete a task.
Nigel Purse founded The Oxford Group in 1987 following a career in HR and business management with the Mars Corporation and Burmah Oil (now part of BP).
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