One way we can truly make a difference in people’s lives is by offering heartfelt appreciation. Many of us say we don’t need a lot of praise. That may be what our head says, but I don’t think it’s what our heart wants. Intellectually, we don’t think praise is important, but emotionally, it is. People want to know they are significant and they are making a difference.
Appreciating someone is so much more than saying “Good job”. There is a big difference between noticing what someone is doing and noticing something about a person’s being. So often we take for granted the value people bring to the team. Appreciation begins with noticing. Saying thank you for what someone does is important, but appreciating someone for who they are and what they bring to the organization can be especially powerful.
When we appreciate someone, we are likely to get more of what we positively reinforce. Powerful praise also builds relationships between us and our clients.
Fred Kofman writes about impeccable praise in his book, Conscious Business. He believes it should be direct, specific, respectful, and openhearted. Just as a laser is more powerful than diffused light, focused praise goes much deeper than abstract remarks. Powerful praise addresses the other directly. It highlights concrete behaviors and results. It is respectful by letting the other person know how their actions affected you positively. It acknowledges someone for who they are, not only for what they do.
By way of example, here is some appreciation I recently gave. I could have just said, thanks for working on Career Day. Instead, I thought it through and delivered something more heartfelt and meaningful…
We recently conducted HS Career Day where 37 students spent the day with us learning about design and construction. It was your first Career Day, and you planned and coordinated the event beautifully. Your willingness to dive in and take care of all of the details made you a pleasure to work with. Due to your efforts, the day was a huge success which will have lasting effects on the students who attended and on our reputation.
Who can you appreciate today?