5..6..7..8 Who Do You Appreciate

“Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival – to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.” – Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Feeling appreciated is a fundamental need. Each of us wants to know that what we do matters. We want to feel valued by our family members, our supervisors and our colleagues.

If we are not appreciated, we may feel we are simply a commodity.

Without recognition, we lose motivation.

In all of our relationships, both at work and at home, we need to feel cared for and appreciated.

As a leader, you hold a valuable role in this essential need for well-being, and yet 79% of employees quit their jobs due to a lack of appreciation.

When relationships are not nurtured by a sense of appreciation there are predictable behavioral outcomes.

  • Discouragement
  • Lack of connection
  • Disengagement
  • Complaining
  • Avoidance
  • Opposition to new ideas
  • Lack of transparency

And more.

There is no doubt you have experienced this firsthand yourself. It is unfortunately all too common in the workplace.

Communicating appreciation is key to good working relationships, but it’s not a simple matter.

CEO’s say they are doing well with company-wide recognition but how many employee-of-the-month photos do you see on the wall? Companies frequently don’t do well with encouraging people individually and people are left with little sense of how they are valued or why what they do matters to anyone, except the company bottom line profitability.

When appreciation is given it emphasizes what’s good for the company is also good for the individual, and is delivered in an authentic way it encourages people to support each other.

We all want to be seen and heard and when that’s not there we wither.

Appreciating someone individually and authentically makes them feel good about who they are and what they contribute. People who are appreciated report that they enjoy their work more and there is a deeper sense of loyalty and trust in the company culture.

Many leaders may take the view that “we don’t need a praise and recognition program. We pay people to be engaged.” But this is almost guarantees that you will have high turnover.

Great leaders are people who take time to acknowledge and praise the people who are working with them to get the outcomes they want.

In my work with Human Synergistics behavioral assessments, the most successful leaders are the ones who are more constructive and embrace Affiliative and Humanistic Encouraging behaviors. Essentially this means they are more collaborative, communicate effectively, and support the growth and development of the people they work with. Everyone wins.

When leaders actively pursue communicating appreciation to their team members, the whole culture improves, and people are happy to come to work.

We appreciate great art, music, movies and book. We listen deeply to inspiring talks, or a simple walk in nature. We are grateful for the pleasures of good food, good friends, and loving companions to share our lives, and we share our appreciation with others easily and with an increased awareness of contributions made by others.

So why does the buck stop when we get to the office or workplace?

Bubkis is a Yiddish word for “nothing”. Many people go to work and get bubkis!

The underlying message is do your work and don’t complain. You’re getting paid for it. This makes it all to easy to become disengaged and dissatisfied, leading to something they’ve labeled ‘quiet quitting’ recently, but that’s nothing new. People keep their heads down, do the work, get paid and wish they could be somewhere else.

Here’s the surprising fact. People in general are not motivated by money. Sure it helps sustain a good life, but it’s not the main driver for engagement.

The younger members of the workforce, Millennials and Gen Z prefer to work for a purpose and develop competencies rather than just collecting their monthly paychecks. When they find meaning in their work they are potent contributors and deepen employee engagement.

“A great leader does not merely praise other people, but, rather, turns other people into praise providers themselves.” – Shawn Achor.

This is the knock-on effect. If you are praised, you also learn that it’s a good idea to praise others because of the reward. Feeling good about who you are and what you do.

The O.C. Tanner Institute is a recognized authority on Employee Recognition programs and publishes an annual Global Culture report which draws upon research from more than 20,000 employees and leaders across the world. They learned that without deliberate and intentional efforts on the part of leaders and companies, there is a real risk of continued increases in burnout, disengaged employees, and declining business results.

It’s time to do things differently.

Positivity and appreciation are not a nice to have. They are necessary to sustain our engagement in the lives we lead.

The more positive we can be in our relationships, the more we can support each other to rise and bring their whole authentic self to their work and the workplace, the more we create environments of care and well-being that accelerate growth across all dimensions of the organization and the lives of those who are entrusted to help our companies grow.

Isaac Newton’s first law of motion states: an object in motion stays in motion…you can have a negative impact or a positive impact on the people you interact with. If you are on the receiving end, which would you prefer? Easy to answer that.

Now consider the impact on others as you pass this good feeling along. It accumulates and you not only help yourself you also help others too. Suddenly, you go from disengaged to appreciation for the recognition and the support that makes you part of a meaningful experience.


Are you losing your best talent because they feel undervalued or under-appreciated? How much is it costing you by not investing in leadership development?

Transformational Strategies for Success is an online personal development program supported by coaching and advisory services. Designed to accelerate fundamental leadership skills of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and effective communication, this deep-dive program helps individuals develop a clear understanding of self and clarity of vision for career and life success.

TSS is currently in use by individuals in the U.S., Australia and Japan. The benefit of implementing TSS is to help companies develop leadership and increase performance, productivity, and profitability across all dimensions of the organization. 


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