Jane (not her real name) was super busy and under incredible pressure when she began her coaching journey. She had complained about having no time for herself, she was working 12 -14 days and finding little space for reflection and thinking let alone unplugging from work.
We began to develop simple ways of creating time to think in her rhythm, starting with using traveling time for reflection and thinking rather than execution, catching up on emails etc. On one of these trips Jane recognized her desire to appreciate her team for an incredible effort to meet multiple deadlines under enormous pressure. Whilst she was exhausted, Jane remembered her commitment of utilizing travel space to think rather than do. She opened a new email and began typing a thoughtful, powerful email to her team where she acknowledged each team member’s qualities. As Jane finished typing she noticed feeling uplifted, lighter and closed her eyes to rest.
The next day when Jane entered the office she notice the difference in the atmosphere and the way people were engaging with her. After making coffee and preparing for her day, she opened her emails to find that each LT member had responded to the email thanking her for her kindness, thoughtfulness and encouraging words. In the weeks and months that passed Jane noticed a significant change in her team’s collaboration, energy levels and willingness to go the extra mile. This was very rewarding and demonstrated the power of appreciation to Jane in a way that inspired her to continue this practice when she traveled by sending emails to people in her life that matter. She also extended this into her daily and weekly routine too.
That would be incredible, except the story doesn’t end there. Jane’s email had such a profound impact on her LT that they too began to appreciate their team members individually and collectively, resulting in a cascading multiplier effect of appreciation across her Department.
A simple practice. A choice to focus on what is good, positive and energizing and then actively expressing this to others leading to a shift in culture across a department. The reality is that when we are appreciative, we look for ways to pay it forward and appreciate others around us too. This is the multiplier effect of Appreciation!
Before we wrap up a few key pointers:
- Appreciate the quality and behaviors people demonstrate don’t just say thanks and be generic or unclear on what you value in others
- Make it a practice of showing a ratio of 5 :1 positive, appreciative comments to negative ones, both personally and professionally and then sit back to watch the magic unfold
- Ask yourself daily what you most appreciate about your partner, peers, direct reports, manager, family and then express this to them
- End meetings with what you most admire or respect about the other person
- In meetings go around at the end encouraging each person to appreciate the person to their left or right with the quality that they see and experience in them
- Learn to receive appreciation when it is offered by others as it’s a way not only to build your own self esteem, but to show people that we trust and value what they say and think about us. It builds and deepens trust.
- When giving feedback always start with positive qualities you appreciate about the other person so that when you have a tougher message to deliver they are more likely to receive and respond to it openly because you have taken the time to demonstrate that you value and respect them.