My son is a little over 3 years old. One of the many things that I am proud of him about is his habit of saying “Thank you!” whenever someone does something for him or gives him something. This habit of his stands out more when I witness grown ups not doing a good job of saying ‘Thank you!’
Appreciation is something we all crave for, be it children or adults, both in our personal and professional lives. Appreciation is something that makes us feel valued and respected. It is the acknowledgement & appreciation of who we are and what we do. And it can be anything from a simple pat on the back, to a formal reward or recognition. Irrespective of who you are – a manager, individual contributor, teacher, student, parent, spouse, appreciation will make people around you feel good about working/being with you.
I am sharing here a few lessons that I have learned about appreciation:
Say it/show it: G.B. Stern, the novelist, said, “Silent gratitude isn’t of much use to anyone.” Don’t rely on non-verbals to do the appreciation. While a pat on the back is good, saying “You did a great job” along with it is better. And sometimes you need to go above and beyond to appreciate someone who went above and beyond. Remember those hand-made cards and poems/prose you used to give to your mother on her birthday when you were younger?
Right there & then: Imagine a scenario where you did a great job on a project, and everyone in the team, including your boss, knows you did a great job. And then 6 months later, during your year-end discussion, your boss appreciates what you had done all those months back. Would you feel good about it? Appreciation, if not timely, loses it’s essence. Follow Newton’s third law and ensure the appreciation (reaction) follows right after the job well done (action).
Be specific: The other day I sent a note to one of my colleagues saying ‘Thank you’. She looked at the note and asked, “What for?” I now ensure that I don’t just say ‘Thank you’, but also tell the person what it is for, and how what they have done impacts me (I learned this technique from a training that I attended) – “Thank you for sharing the data so promptly. This will help me create the report in time and not work late hours on the last day.”
Accept the appreciation: I was part of a Toastmasters club a few years back. One of the key learning I had as a part of the club was to accept appreciation. It is one thing to be modest & humble, but when somebody appreciates something you have done, it’s best to respond with a ‘Thank you for the appreciation/feedback’ or as my 3-year old says when someone says Thanks to him, ‘You are welcome’.
Before I end, let me take this opportunity to thank you, the reader, for taking the time to read my posts (& leaving a comment/like). It gives me the encouragement to keep writing and sharing. 🙂