The Currency of Appreciation

Can you believe the growth in the home remodeling industry? DIYers to weekend warriors to home investors looking to flip properties, the growth since late 2011 and early 2012 is staggering. A quick flip through HGTV’s lineup of shows places a keen feature on this content during all daytime and evening hours. Flipping, renovating, and repurposing are all the rage. Why? Because there’s value in what’s already there. It just needs some attention.


The same is true in the team you work with. You already know your employees are your most vital asset and crucial form of capital. Perhaps it’s time to rid the mentality that someone new is the solution to your team morale or organizational culture. Look at who’s already there and how you can get the most out of them and your business’ culture.


Here’s why:


1.    Your team adds value that you can’t.


There’s something amazing that happens when, as Jim Collins puts it, everyone is on the right seat on the bus. Their role is exactly where they need to be. When that happens, your team will add value in places you simply can’t, because you occupy a different seat. Recognize the potential they have to succeed for your organization, and nurture that potential. Encourage them to lean into that role they’re meant for and you’ll be rewarded with their best service.


2.    They allow you to scale your growth.


Communication flows better up and down the chain of command. Fewer things fall through the cracks. Team spirit is palpable. When everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to do, you’ll be ready and built for the long haul. When everyone on the team I manage is working and contributing, we’re not just working for the day; we’re shaping the future of our organization, and that means added growth and bigger opportunities. Times like this are when your team members genuinely enjoy being a part of the office. Since early tribes, humans have enjoyed being a part of a cohesive unit. Foster this environment in your office!


3.    They make the journey worthwhile.


Working for yourself and by yourself is for a very specific group of folks. If you’ve signed on to a team or been tasked to oversee one, you know one of the greatest parts of the journey is the people you share it with. Think about the greatest sports moments of all time, from Jim Valvano looking for someone to hug to the Miracle on Ice USA Hockey Team. Rarely in those moments do you see athletes relishing in the spotlight alone. Rather, you see them eager to share the moment with the people they made the journey alongside. The people are always worth more than the profit.


There’s value in who’s already on your team. They just need some attention. And the currency of appreciating your team will go a long way. So how will you do this?


1.    What gets celebrated gets replicated.


Mark Twain once said, “I can live two months on a good compliment.” When you celebrate the good happening on your team, it’ll be done again, and probably more efficiently and with a lot more excitement behind it. Get in the habit of celebrating your team and the individuals. A good litmus test for this: look through your last performance review. Did you do more celebrating or criticizing? That might be a sign of how often you appreciate your team, and your leadership style.


2.    Surprise, Surprise


One of the greatest days we had in a previous job was when the boss canceled half the day’s tasks and took us all to an outstanding barbecue lunch. It wasn’t announced, it just happened. Surprising your team with a much-needed break or field trip somewhere will not only help them feel appreciated, it will make you more approachable as a leader.


3.    A Public Outcry


Nobody likes public chastising. On the outside, not many of us like being publicly lauded either. But on the inside, we all crave being bragged on in front of a group. It’s important for individuals to be recognized in front of a group, and for the group to acknowledge and affirm a fellow teammate.


** Bonus Tip: Don’t just compliment them- send a letter home to their spouse. I’m serious. Pen a handwritten letter detailing with specificity the great job that your team member has done and your sincere appreciation. Then stick it in the mail and watch them come to work the day after receiving it glowing because the letter has made the refrigerator door. I’m telling you- it works!


Appreciating your team will help reignite their morale, flip negativity on its head, and help them lean in to their roles more effectively. Don’t neglect the value of appreciation. It will go a long way for you and your team.