November 2013

Leading with Appreciation

Don't forget, a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

A talented CEO recently brought up the subject of appreciation in one of our coaching sessions.  He discussed the importance of feeling appreciated and appreciating others.  He reminded me of the importance of specific words and their meanings.  It’s not often that I hear an executive leader talk about appreciation.  They usually speak of recognition or thanking their people, but rarely appreciating them.  It’s one thing to thank employees and quite another to appreciate them.  Appreciation is so much more expansive and meaningful.  It takes greater thought and intention.

As this CEO discussed the importance of appreciation, I found myself reflecting on appreciation in many ways.  Probably like many of you, I kept a file for years with notes from bosses or peers about various things they appreciated about something I did or said.  The notes were usually very descriptive and heartfelt, and I kept them all.  They went well beyond a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘good job’.  This CEO is quite clear that appreciation is foundational to creating a happy and fulfilling personal and work life.   And he is right.  It’s something we can all do well if we’re willing to look for opportunities to appreciate others. 

Season of Gratitude

What better time to begin the practice of showing appreciation than in this season of gratitude and thankfulness.   Can you remember the last time you expressed your appreciation to someone in your life?   When was the last time you felt truly appreciated by someone?  What did they say or do that allowed you to feel appreciated?  How can we show our appreciation more thoughtfully beginning this month?

I have a reflection tool in my book, Simple Shifts that describes several ways of using reflection to clarify goals and measure progress.  The year-end reflection exercise initiates a look back over the past year to recognize accomplishments and identify new possibilities.  It can also be used to identify specific ways to appreciate yourself and your team.  Here are a few of the questions from that chapter:

  • What am I most grateful for in this last year?  
  • What were my key lessons learned?
  • How can I show that gratitude or appreciation in the best ways?

As I reflect on my appreciation for each of you, as subscribers to this newsletter, I want you to know how much I appreciate your wonderful feedback when something in one of these newsletters touches you or gives you a new idea.  Your appreciation energizes me to continue writing these newsletters.  I know you have many choices of things to read, with limited time, and I sincerely appreciate your continued subscription to mine. 

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well." – Voltaire 

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