Express Your Appreciation

Do you remember the last time someone genuinely told you how much he or she appreciated you? If you’re like me, it leaves an impression that keeps on glowing like the embers of a warm, cozy fire for days afterward. As a boss or leader, you have so much power to improve the daily lives of the people you lead, simply by expressing heartfelt appreciation for them.  You’ll also improve your own life, since employees who feel valued are more likely to stay loyal in a time when knowledge workers are constantly scanning the labor market for new opportunities. Praise can also increase productivity because your expressions of appreciation will reinforce the behaviors you want to see repeated.

Yet if you’re like some managers, you may have difficulty expressing appreciation to your direct reports without sounding insincere, condescending, or overly focused on results and not the person. Plus, if you have high expectations of yourself, as many leaders do, it’s easy to expect top results from your employees (after all, that’s what you hired them to do, right?) without remembering to thank and encourage them as well.

How many ways can you express your appreciation and praise employees? There are many, but the best ones focus on the uniqueness of the person who performed a task, not just on the task itself. Which would you rather hear if you’re a project manager dropping off your weekly report to your boss:

  • “Thanks for the report, Tina. Now I can work on our schedule for next week.”
  • “Your detail-mindedness is impressive, Tina. Your thorough report always helps me do my job better.”

Another effective way to praise employees is to thank or talk well about them in front of a coworker or friend. Openly giving your employees credit and acknowledging that they are a crucial part of the team fosters loyalty, as well as increasing motivation and engagement.

  • “Thanks to Jose’s sharp eye here, we discovered the error and were able to correct the flaw before our design went to manufacturing.”
  • “Team, wasn’t it great to walk in and find that the prep work was already completed? Thank you from all of us, Ashley, for taking the initiative to make that happen.”
  • “We can always count on you to be here on time and ready to work, Mark. I could set my watch by you.”

For a more lasting expression of appreciation, put your thank-you in writing. An email expressing your thankfulness might soon be deleted, but a handwritten card with the same message is likely to be kept around for a long time:

  • “Dear Mark, Your working overtime three days last week to finish our project has not gone unnoticed. I realize that you sacrificed time with your family to make sure our customer was satisfied and the project was completed. Thank you so much for your commitment to getting the job done. I don’t take that for granted, and I really appreciate being able to count on you when the pressure is on.”
  • “Dear Susan, In a time when some employees don’t really seem to care about their work, I wanted you to know that I see how much of yourself you put into your work. I really appreciate your wholehearted attitude and creativity in the way you approach the problems we throw at you! Thank you for giving us your best every day.”

If you’re still stuck for words, these suggestions from might be a great way to jumpstart your expression of appreciation:

Take the time to say it:

 “You know what I really like about you…”

“I love it when you…”

“I really respect you for…”

“This thing you did had such a good effect on me…”

“Thank you for…”

“I really appreciate it when you…”

“I admire you for…”

“One of my favorite memories of you is…”

If you’re looking for a way to increase your employees’ loyalty, motivation, engagement, and productivity, learn to express your appreciation. Whether you praise them verbally or put your gratitude in writing, everyone in your organization will reap the benefits of your decision to thank them.

Got a new hire? Read this to get your new employee off to a great start.

Click here or call (714) 993-1900 to request an employee or discuss a workforce management issue.

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