People are more motivated by meaningful work and being appreciated than by money. This has been documented in study after study.
Of course, we work for money. If we didn’t need money we probably wouldn’t ‘work’ at all, at least not as we know it today. We’d certainly do some form of work but it would be work that was highly satisfying to us.
So, what makes your work satisfying? You do.
You are the one who remembers why your work matters. You are the one who decides to do your job well and make your work a statement of who you are, a source of pride. And you are the one who shows others that they matter too.
There’s an old joke that says, “The only time my daddy said, ‘well done’ was when he ordered steak.” Many can identify with that. Most managers, leaders, and even parents seem to miss hundreds of opportunities to show their appreciation or offer encouragement. But what are the payoffs to the business for those who do?
1. Discretionary Effort. Appreciated people give more of themselves to their work. You cannot buy it, coerce it or force it. This is the extra effort that only comes from someone deciding to make a bigger contribution or give it his or her best. They do that more often when they feel appreciated and respected.
2. Loyalty. People tend to leave their jobs more often due to an unappreciative boss than low pay. In fact, studies repeatedly show that those who get the most ‘Attaboys’ from their boss are the least vulnerable to offers of more pay somewhere else.
3. Trust. If you show your people how you value them and the work they do for you then they will ‘have your back’ more often. They will look out for you and your business because they feel as if they are a vital part of it too. Those who don’t feel appreciated are the most likely to ‘borrow’ supplies and tools permanently, join in with others who criticize you, or waste your resources because they have no reason to truly care.
4. Trust…again. You do realize that ‘trust’ shows up everywhere on and off the job, don’t you? When there is high trust, there is low stress and fewer complaints. Problems occur less often. People tend to get along better and mistakes are less frequent. You net more profit when trust is high.
Let’s examine the Tension in your organization. There are two types of Tension: 1. Task Tension and 2. Relationship Tension.
Task Tension is eagerness or anxiety (*there is a difference in the two) you have toward the work you do. If you are working hard to get exactly the right specs on something or taking special care to avoid danger or accidents…that is Task Tension. Your tension is directly related to the task you are performing. This kind of tension ebbs and flows throughout the day. It does not last beyond the task itself unless you are procrastinating and avoiding the work. Then it’s a form of guilt and apprehension. The self-inflicted tension you might say.
The other type of tension is Relationship Tension. This is the stress we attach to our dealings with another person. If you feel someone else is a threat to you or is a jerk, then you’ll experience tension when dealing with them, or even when you think about dealing with them.
Relationship Tension is directly related to Trust. When Relationship Tension rises, Trust goes down. On the other hand, when we reduce Relationship Tension, Trust begins to grow. For example: if you always get criticized for your mistakes or oversights and never complimented for your successes, you tend to resent the way you are being supervised.
They call this “Seagull Supervision”; “My boss swoops in like a seagull squawking and pooping all over the place but never points out the good things.”
So, the fastest way to increase productivity and profit margins in your workplace is by openly appreciating what others are doing for you. Seriously, it really is. Think about it like this; if you notice the things people are doing right and comment on them. If you start saying, “Thanks” more often. If you occasionally brag about your co-workers for their good work, their loyalty or their skill…then they start appreciating you more.
Once you’ve cultivated the habit of “Catching People Doing Things Right” as my friend Ken Blanchard says, then your coworkers start looking for opportunities to make you proud. Praise is positively addictive; the more we get the more we want to earn.
Take some time to look for ways to let others know how much you appreciate, admire or respect them. Be specific, point out why you are praising them. For example, you might say, “That last customer was really a handful. Yet you handled him courteously and professionally. I know that took some restraint on your part and I appreciate your doing it. Thanks.”
Or, “One thing I really like is that you always show up on time. I never worry about when you’re going to arrive. It sure makes my job less stressful. Thanks.”
Or, “I know you’ve been going through some tough times recently and yet you haven’t let it affect your work. Good job. Thanks.”
Praise is an art and you can learn to express your gratitude naturally and appropriately over time by simply deciding today to let others know what you appreciate. Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I appreciate your attention.
*Eagerness is based on looking forward to something, positive anticipation. Anxiety is fear-based, apprehension. “We are eager to go to the ballgame. We are anxious about our next dental appointment.”
~Jim Cathcart professional speaker and founder of the Cathcart Institute