“Appreciation refers to the positive evaluation of another person. It is based on an inner general attitude towards others. … It tends to be independent of deeds or performance, even if these influence the subjective assessment of a person and thus esteem.
Appreciation is linked to respect, benevolence and is expressed in kindness, interest, attentiveness and friendliness”.
In colloquial language, appreciation is often equated with praise and the recognition of performance. Appreciation always concerns the person and not only their “result”.
Appreciation for us is an inner attitude towards others with which we express that we respect and recognise others.
“You can tell what someone thinks less by their views than by their behaviour.”
Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991)
We can show appreciation even with small gestures:
- Interested listening
- Questions about the content
- Appreciative glances
- Nodding of approval
- A verbal “thank you”.
People don’t want to be just an insignificant cog in the wheel or the spare wheel. Address words and gestures of appreciation to the person it affects. The recipient must feel: “It means me”. “It’s just for me.”
Say what you appreciate. It should become clear what they did to deserve it. A pat on the back only becomes genuine appreciation when the person also knows what triggered it.
Feelings have a more substantial effect than factual arguments. Therefore, it is crucial for credibility that the genuine enthusiasm of the “speaker” is palpable.
There is no such thing as implicit appreciation. Appreciation lives from being shown, expressed and communicated. Anyone who believes that the other person already knows is mistaken. People want to hear it, see it, feel it, not just guess it.
How can you show appreciation in a perceptible way?
Express what you have observed and what meaning, what value it has for you. Verbal appreciation should feel sincere. It should be noticeable that you are interested in the other person. The best way: Take time for the other person. Ask questions! Listen!
A sincere “thank you” goes beyond simple praise. It shows respect and appreciation for the effort another person has made and shows that you do not take it for granted. As a manager, promote a corporate culture in which people say “please” and “thank you” as a matter of course.
Show yourself as part of the team. Do not just give instructions, but lend a hand. Don’t be too shy to carry out a task yourself or move a “table”. Small gestures of this kind do not detract from your status but show that you do not think of yourself as “something better” and that you see your employees first and foremost as human beings and only secondarily as workers.
Step back and let the other person celebrate their success. Mention the achievements of your team members among colleagues or to your manager! Show or let them show what they have done or contributed. Caution: An outstanding quality or another person’s talent can also arouse envy in the environment.
Hardly anyone can resist the request to share their skills and knowledge when asked. The person asked feels more “valuable” as a result.
As a manager, encourage qualitative exchange. Involve employees in your decisions. Reserve exclusive appointments for individual dialogue. Maybe even a coffee outside the company, a lunch together. Take time to listen and exchange information, ideas, and opinions without deadline pressure and without disturbing mobile phones.
Showing appreciation means recognising others’ needs and taking them seriously. You can’t meet all the needs of others any time, but it does show you how the other person “ticks”.
At this point, it becomes apparent whether appreciation is an attitude or just lip service. Mistakes and problems should be voiced. It is crucial how you address them. For example, explain why it was a problem and its consequences. Give your employee the chance to learn from it and do better next time. “What can/would you change?”
Trust has an enormous performance-enhancing effect. Trust is the certainty that you want to rely on the other person. And that in itself is an expression of high esteem. So give employees responsibility and entrust them with challenging tasks that they can manage independently. Please give them the necessary freedom to do so.
Identify the talents of your employees. Recognise their skills and allow them to use and develop these skills.
Last but not least:
Return the favour and show how valuable it was for you. Go for a walk with the person, without talking about work issues and bring a small gift. Those who have really “put in the work” beforehand are sure to be pleased. Bring chocolate, a bottle of champagne, a bouquet on a. special day, e.g. birthday, Valentine’s Day. Again, consider the “preferences” of the person. Not everyone likes “sweets”.
What else is worth mentioning…
Appreciation for the other person(s) always competes with our ego. What we appreciate in another may devalue ourselves. If you can’t put yourself second and behind someone else, you will find it difficult to give genuine appreciation to others. It is not easy to take oneself back.
The prerequisite for this is healthy self-esteem. Only those who accept themselves with all their strengths and weaknesses can also genuinely appreciate other people’s strengths.
“A person who feels valued will always perform or give more than is expected of him.”
Jochen Mai, founder of karrierebibel.de