Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and while some believe it is only about that special LOVE, I want to challenge YOU and ALL leaders to make this Valentine’s Day about showing appreciation to the people in your workplace community.
Leaders who want to acknowledge their appreciation of workplace community members will want to remember the 5 love languages that Gary Chapman and Paul White wrote about in their book The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace or go to their website www.appreciationatwork.com.
Five Love Languages
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
ACTS of SERVICE
TRY SOMETHING TO SHOW APPRECIATION!
Leaders: don’t be discouraged if you just can’t figure out who has what love language, Just try SOMETHING. I think it is a good idea to make a chart and list your employees and what you think their love language is. Some leaders can just do this in your head. You might also want to add a column that denotes the dates that you really took the time to appreciation that employee in an authentic and conscious way. Seriously, you may THINK you are giving appreciation, but if you document it and reflect: Am I giving appreciation to everyone? Am I doing this rarely or sometime or frequently? The only way to know is to take the time to check your notes and reflect.
CORE CONDITIONS FOR APPRECIATION
Author and psychologist Paul White who I mentioned above wrote a great article in the February 2014 issue of Educational Leadership (ASCD) where he lists 4 key core conditions for appreciation in the workplace.
- Regularly communicated
- Use their love language
- Make it personal and individualized
- Authentic with no ulterior motive
CONSIDERATIONS for LEADERS
Here are some things leaders really need to consider:
CONFLICT: Showing appreciation to someone you have a conflict with needs to start with a conversation: “I realize we did not agree on that, but I want you to know that I do truly appreciate your work on … because…” Sending a note just won’t do until the conflict is addressed.
FEAR: I know it isn’t easy to put yourself out there. Yes it is possible that you show appreciation, and it just isn’t accepted. Perhaps you even become the butt of a joke in the lunch room. That doesn’t matter. Do the right thing and do what you would like to see others doing. Put aside your fear!
AUTHENTIC: No matter what you must be authentic. Your appreciation should be specific so that the person knows what you valued in him/her and maybe even take the time to include why this was valued. Please don’t show appreciation if you don’t really mean it!
ONGOING: If you want appreciation to be part of the culture in your workplace community, you need to model what you hope to see. You can’t just send a Christmas card with a message and then wait again for the next Christmas.
Vary your timing.
Vary your boldness.
Vary the type of appreciation you give and why you give it.
Sometimes show appreciation: just because…
Sometimes show appreciation for work well done.
Take the personal approach and give appreciation when you know the person is going through something difficult in their own personal life.
Ongoing appreciation in big and little ways will build this kind of culture in your workplace community and soon, leaders, you will see and hear other employees doing the same thing you are.
MANNERS: Leaders use so much technology today to communicate and of course that’s good and needed. But, it can’t be the only way we leaders communicate. I encourage you to take the time to ALWAYS say THANK YOU and ALWAYS say PLEASE and YOU ARE WELCOME and I AM SORRY.
Simple words are big encouragement especially if they are consistently used all of the time!
APPRECIATION IDEAS FOR LEADERS
Your person’s love language determines what the leader is going to do to show appreciation. I do have some favorites.
- Photograph of the person at work: everyone loves to see their own picture
- Hand written note sent to their home
- Hand written note sent to their spouse or parent telling how wonderful this person is
- Some people appreciate it when you acknowledge that their family is #1 in their life. Send them a website that reminds you of them related to family. Ask about their family members by name. Ask to see pictures of their growing children or grandchildren. Be personal. They will feel appreciated.
- If you know the person is spiritual, pick out an appropriate Bible verse.
- Send them home early. Perhaps you have a hard-working employee that never misses work, but is at work sick. Cover for them and send them home telling them you appreciate how they never miss.
- Help the person with their work. Just dig in and help. Perhaps that would be serving food or shoveling sidewalks.
- Just stop in and talk about NOTHING! And share your appreciation.
Each one of us loves to be appreciated. You can do this. Not just once, but on a regular basis.
Be personal. Be real. Be specific.
But no matter what, JUST START! Just TRY SOMETHING! And, HAVE FUN!
Growing appreciation in the workplace community has such possibilities for leaders!
What is one idea you have to show appreciation in your workplace community?