5 Simple Ways to Show Your Team You Appreciate Them
One of my first real jobs after college was working as a temp in a college in New York City. I’d been assigned to a crazy busy office in the adult training department. The boss had me keying printed training manuals into our new Apple IIe computer, which required me to save my work onto floppy discs (anyone remember those?).
But I got so busy, sometimes I forgot to save my work. One afternoon the computer crashed and I lost days of work. I was devastated and my boss was furious.
But, he didn’t curse me, just the situation. After he calmed down, he told me how much he appreciated me and suggested I take the rest of the day off to collect myself. He said “Come back tomorrow, you’ll feel better, and you can start again.”
I was so grateful that he didn’t fire me, that he told me he appreciated me, and for giving me time to recover that I vowed to myself that I would fix my mistake as soon as I could. That night, after he’d left, I went back into the office and pulled an all-nighter re-keying those manuals. By the next morning, I’d almost gotten back to where I was when the system crashed. He was stunned and I was extremely proud. I continued to work for him for four more very productive, interesting years.
The lesson here – keep telling employees how much you appreciate them and they’ll go the extra mile for you when the going gets rough.
Tell Them, Regularly!
People who are proud of their work don’t necessarily need to be told how much you appreciate them, but you should tell them anyway, just in case they’re not sure you do. Don’t assume your team knows how much you appreciate them; tell them regularly and sincerely.
Show Them, Regularly!
It’s not enough to tell your team you appreciate them, you need to show them. Sometimes this means buying everyone a round of coffee or snack just because. Or typing “I appreciate you!” in an email. Other times it means giving them what they need most, like a break at unexpected times, a fun day out at the ballpark, or time off to go do things with their family and friends. Do more than tell ‘em, show ‘em.
Cut Them Some Slack
Everyone makes mistakes, even you. Most people don’t screw up intentionally. So, when your team makes mistakes, do your utmost to put things into perspective and cut them some slack. 9 times out of 10, if you give your team the benefit of the doubt when mistakes happen, they’ll step up and make things right, super-fast. And when they do, tell them you appreciate them for it.
Be Specific About What You Appreciate
Some team members are really good at churning work out at a fast clip; others are experts in quality control; still others are idea machines. Each person on your team has specific talents and skills that they bring to the job. So, when you tell them you appreciate them, be specific about what you appreciate, don’t just generalize. Most people want to know what exactly you appreciate them for.
Appreciate Them Even When You’re Giving Negative Feedback
Nobody likes negative feedback, it’s almost always a downer. But most people know it’s necessary from time to time. So, when you give your team feedback, don’t go “all negative.” Try to remind them of what you do actually appreciate about them while you’re giving that feedback. This will put things into perspective for them; they won’t feel like you think they’re all bad, and that’ll make it much more likely that they’ll step up, fix their screw-ups and stay loyal to you and your goals. Add a little bit of honey to the vinegar, it’ll help the medicine go down.