I was at a small group meeting recently with a group of high achievers. These are high-character people who have had success in their life. I respect this group. As we went around the room discussing things that were on their mind, a theme bubbled to the top for me. Many of the people in the room were struggling with a common challenge. They lacked any positive recognition for their achievements.
Leaders in their organizations did not pat them on the back and thank them for their hard work…and it hurt.
These are highly educated, accomplished individuals. These folks show up every day and do their best. But the cultures they were working in did not recognize their efforts…and it was grinding them down. I am sure if you asked them, they might say they didn’t need a pat on the back. “Doing good work is enough.” But it’s not.
Being recognized for your contribution is something we all need.
We might not even think that we “want it.” We need it. Organizations that don’t understand the human need for recognition struggle. I was watching it happen in front of my eyes. These people who are leaders in their own organizations were frustrated…and the solution seemed so simple. But as I have said many times before, simple is not the same as easy.
Organizations (yes yours) need to do a better job of showing appreciation to their team. As I have said before, there is an Appreciation Gap in most organizations. If you ask leadership if they show appreciation, they will tell you that they do. But most employees don’t feel appreciated or recognized. That appreciation gap creates a divide in an organization that frustrates everyone.
Appreciation Has To Be Intentional
The fact is, life and business are busy. Even leaders that have the best of intentions can lose sight of showing appreciation. We have a lot to do and a lot to manage. And let’s face it, some of us are not as good at thinking of gestures of kindness as others. Unless I make a point of it, I lose track too! That is why leaders need to be intentional about showing appreciation.
We need to schedule appreciation.
As I have said hundreds of times, “If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist.” If that’s true of my appointments and sales calls, why would appreciation be any different? So here is how to build appreciation into every day of the week. If you do this regularly as a leader, you have a chance to bridge that appreciation gap in your organization and improve your culture.
Monday: Do a weekly walk around looking for people to lift up. Someone on your team has probably done something worth mentioning. Call that out. If not, there might be someone that is struggling. Look your team in the eye. Make it a point to listen. Take an hour a week to lift your team up.
Tuesday: Send one thank you card. If you do this before your day goes crazy, this will not take long. When you stack this up, week after week, your team will feel seen.
Wednesday: Bring in the merch! Once a week, pick out a high performer to recognize with a cool piece of branded drinkware or apparel. There is nothing like cool branded merch to help build a tribe. In addition, by doing this, you start to create a habit of “looking for good things” in your organization. A human brain is an amazing tool. When you tell it to start looking for things to celebrate, it finds them!
Thursday: Take a team member to lunch. By taking some time away from the office, you can really build a better relationship with your team members. And of course, if you are willing to listen, this goes even deeper.
Friday: Send out a weekly email to your team commending some cool accomplishments.
Now…put these on your calendar.
None of these are huge time or financial commitments. They can, however, make a big difference in your team. But if you leave them to chance, they won’t happen. Build appreciation into every day of your week if you want to do it consistently.
Hasseman Marketing is your one-stop marketing shop. We work hard to “Deliver #MarketingJoy to you. If you want to make sure you never miss an update, now is a great time to become a VIP. Sign up to be “on the list” here.