If you read my last blog then you'll know that my dad is a big inspiration to me! One of the things he taught me very early on was 'if you don't ask, you don't get'…if you think about it, this phrase can be very significant in most situations. In my role, I have to overcome my own insecurities and put myself out there all the time – sending emails, picking up the phone, attending meetings…often with absolutely no idea where the conversation is going to go and if I'm going to be well received or not. Scary! However, the other important message that my dad taught me in order to bring balance was that 'everyone is human'. It doesn't matter if you are the CEO of an organisation or a cleaner, every one of us has feelings, needs, strengths and weaknesses…that's what makes us human in the first place.
At O.C. Tanner, we talk about 'appreciation changing everything'. And it does, doesn't it? Someone somewhere once said to me, 'Dawn your enthusiasm is infectious. You have a great ability to connect with people quickly on an emotional level and people trust you because you wear your heart on your sleeve'. (See how I've remembered that too!!!) That for me made me realise that I could make a difference…as long as I believe in something, then I'm in a good place. Look at athletes, musicians, writers, teachers, managers and leaders across the globe…at some point someone has picked up on their strengths, encouraged them, supported them and most importantly given them the faith to go out and do whatever it is they want to do. That is recognition and appreciation in its purest form.
So just imagine as a manager if you combine all of the above and ask your team what motivates them? What their interests are? What they value most in life and what their goals are? (If you don't ask, you don't get!). Then remember that 'everyone is human'..are they a working parent juggling a million things? Have they got insecurities about their own abilities? Are their basic needs being met because only then can they reach their full potential and what are their basic needs?
And then finally throw in 'appreciation', of course doing it in a way that is appropriate for that person because you'll know having asked if they prefer public or one-to-one feedback! Make it sincere, make it specific and make it timely…think about what they've done and what difference it made. Did it link to the values of the company? Did it exhibit behaviours you want other people in your team to mirror? Let's be honest, whoever we are and however we prefer to receive it, we all need a bit of recognition every now and again (actually the research states at least once a week!). Combine these three simple concepts and surely we're on to a winner!
People who do great work in whatever guise have definitely been appreciated for doing what they do along the way and been encouraged to do more of it…get out there tomorrow, use these simple concepts to change your interactions and find out if 'appreciation really does change everything'!