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10 Reasons Why Daily Appreciation is Essential for Leaders

Published October 29, 2018

Great leaders create environments where people feel valued, inspired and empowered. – Craig Groeschel

 

The value of appreciation has been the subject of important research conducted in recent years by O.C. Tanner, a firm that develops recognition strategies and rewards programs. A recent article by David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom identified ten key benefits to daily appreciation:

 

1. Your mindset changes

It’s not natural for many of us to look actively for the great work, brilliant ideas and extra effort given by our coworkers and teams. That’s probably because when we start our careers we’re simply focused on looking out for ourselves. But when you change your mindset to look for the good instead of the bad in the people around you, you notice just how fantastic they are and that they matter.

 

2. Your mood improves

Psychologists have long touted how our mood and daily outlooks change when we focus on positive things rather than negative. In fact, simply removing negative words from your vocabulary can have a tremendous effect on your mood. Imagine the impact using positive words to appreciate another person could have on your mood.

When you change your mindset to look for the good instead of the bad in the people around you, you notice just how fantastic they are and that they matter.

 

3. You engage at a higher level

While the whole corporate world is frantically trying to figure out how to engage employees, not many of us are asking how to further increase our own engagement. We should. A recent study shows that when employees (at any level) give recognition, their engagement score increases by 26%. That’s a sizable increase considering how easy and enjoyable it is to recognize someone at the office.

 

4. Your ability to innovate improves

While you may not see your role as an innovator, your leaders are trying to figure out how to get you to bring your brilliance to work—to improve a product or process, discover ways to cut expenses and generate new ideas. Again, research shows that employees (at any level) who recognize their team members experience a 33% increase in innovation.

 

5. You build trust in relationships

Even the neuroscientists are proving that recognition builds trust. According to Paul J. Zak, professor at Claremont Graduate University, “The neuroscience shows that recognition has the largest effect on trust when it occurs immediately after a goal has been met, when it comes from peers, and when it’s tangible, unexpected, personal and public.”

Simply removing negative words from your vocabulary can have a tremendous effect on your mood. Imagine the impact using positive words to appreciate another person could have on your mood

 

6. You’ll actually want to stay longer

While it would make logical sense that those of us who feel appreciated stay with an organization longer, research from a global study shows we stay quite a bit longer. Companies that that recognize their people for a best-in-class service anniversary keep employees an average of four years longer than companies that don’t.

 

7. You increase your effectiveness

Does giving recognition have a direct impact on results? You better believe it. Research shows that employees (at any level) who give recognition experience a 22% increase in work results.

 

8. You smile more

There’s something intrinsically nice and good about recognition and appreciation that just screams, “It’s the right thing to do.” People bring their hearts and souls to work. We’ve seen the emotional impact appreciation has on people—often decades after the recognition moment happened. Give it a try. Appreciate, and you’ll inspire some smiles and maybe even happy tears.

 

9. You inspire greatness in others

We all would love to be the person who inspires someone else. It turns out it’s not that difficult when you actively give recognition. A study by the O.C. Tanner Institute shows that 88 percent of employees who receive recognition feel inspired to do great work. Why wouldn’t they? They just got praised for a job well done.

 

10. You create a story with a future

Whether you’re a manager or an employee, giving recognition tells the recipient, and all the people witnessing the recognition moment, what kind of work you admire. And, when everyone is clear about what great work looks like to you, they’re likely to produce more of it for you and with you. In fact, they’ll likely even try to do it better than the last time.

 

Try making appreciation a daily habit

If you are ready for action, try adding one of these proven methods to your daily routine:

  • Add daily appreciation to your to do list. Include the accomplishments of the people who report to you to your list of goals to accomplish. Then cross off names as you praise each one of them.
  • Use voicemail. Rather than using it only to assign tasks, leave employees voicemail messages praising them for a job well done. Do it from your cell phone on your way home.
  • Write notes at the end of the day. Keep a stack of note cards on your desk, where you can’t ignore them. At the end of the day, take a minute to write thank-you notes to any employees who made a difference that day.
  • Create a visual aide. At the beginning of the day, put five coins in your pocket. Then, during the day, each time you praise an employee, transfer a coin to your other pocket. It may sound corny, but once you get into the habit, you’ll start relying on tricks like this one.

 

For more research on the benefits of appreciation, check out O.C. Tanner’s Orange Paper on Recognition.

About the Author
Denis Beausejour Author Headshot

Denis Beausejour

Senior Director

O.C. Tanner

Denis is a graduate of William and Mary and earned his MBA from Kellogg School of Management. He has lived and worked internationally throughout Asia and the Americas and now resides in a suburb of Chicago where he works for O.C. Tanner—a global provider of workplace culture services. Leveraging O.C. Tanner’s CultureCloud™ suite of offerings, Denis consults with Fortune 1000 companies on how to create peak employee experiences throughout the career cycle that lead to high-performing work cultures.

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