Appreciation – The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Do you ever feel like you’re on a treadmill, never really getting to your final destination and feeling like you’re expending a whole lot of effort and energy for what?! This month, I’ll show you how to drop the worrying and create greater appreciation for your efforts.

Hi, I’m Josie Thomson. I’m a multi-award winning coach, mindset and resilience expert, author and 2 time cancer survivor.

Today I’m going to share some strategies for you to balance the scales with appreciation for a more fulfilling experience towards your goals.

With 2019 almost upon us, we at Josie Thomson HQ are stepping back to appreciate and look at what we are creating in our lives and in our work. I want to share an invaluable skill for this -APPRECIATION.

Let’s firstly look at the definition of the word to ‘Appreciate’: to recognize the full worth/ be grateful for (something).

The December Festive Season is, for many, a time of celebration – of family, friends, faith and spirituality. With dinners, parties, gifts and traditions, there are many ways that we share good feelings with those important to us and let them know how much they are appreciated.

Then all too often it is back to business as usual come January.

What if this were not just a once a year phenomenon? What would happen if we could continue to appreciate each other throughout the year?

In fact, emotionally intelligent relationships and workplaces know that appreciation and positivity are not just things to bring out once a year and then put back in the box with the rest of the ornaments and decorations. They are intentional about showing authentic appreciation regularly and consistently.

Some of you may already be thinking, “we have work to do and we can’t just view things through rose coloured glasses!” and that would be correct.

Emotional intelligence and the research of Dr. John Gottman can help us find clarity to reconcile appreciation and conflict. Here’s the secret – if you remember one thing from this post, remember this – 5:1.

This is the key ratio that determines the success and sustainability of a relationship. And this is what busts the ‘rose coloured glasses’ view of appreciation and other forms of positivity too often considered ‘soft’. It does so by including negativity or conflict as an essential component of relating. But the key is the balance of positivity to negativity – you need 5 positives to balance 1 negative.

What happens when a manager ignores that principle of balance? It produces this finding by the Gallup Organization: “People leave managers not companies.”

In other words, it is the failure of that relationship that most often causes people to leave.

There is a better managerial operating system, one that includes sincere, intentional appreciation of the efforts that people make at work. The two words “I appreciate…” when used authentically and in a meaningful time span pay more dividends than many realise and in fact can be more motivating than money.

“Emotional sources of motivation are more powerful, and they are best conveyed informally in an organisation through the respect of peers, the admiration of subordinates, the approval of one’s personal network and community…” (Forbes.com – ‘Money is not the best motivator’ – Katzenbach and Khan).

Think of it in these terms – positivity is like the currency of a relationship. And every relationship has a bank account. The relative deposits of positivity versus the withdrawals of negativity will determine the ‘balance’ in that account. Just like a real bank account, there are consequences to being overdrawn.

With a debit balance, people experience more stress, managers see more of their time being taken up trying to deal with the negative consequences of unresolved or poorly handled conflict and there is a pattern of high staff turnover. No company these days can afford to lose their best and brightest. And retraining takes time and resources that can be like going back to ‘square one’ in terms of productivity.

Giving balanced feedback is an important skill for the emotionally intelligent manager. We need to find what people do right and tell them, not just what is wrong, lacking or in need of improvement. And how that is communicated is important.

Neuroleadership Institute founder David Rock cites that people respond well to criticism 1 time out of 13! But what is all too prevalent in the feedback given in many companies? An imbalance of criticism or a default toward negativity delivered without a balance of positivity.

We now know that this is not just theory but proven by research – a negativity imbalance does not create collaborative relationships that last nor is it the most effective way to change behaviour. (For further information on this, read ‘Quiet Leadership’ by David Rock.)

If you currently have a negativity bias, you can learn to shift that to be more balanced. You will still be able to be effective and deal with challenges. The benefit will be getting results with more engagement and less interference. And the results will last longer because people will want to stay rather than leave.

Our ‘why’ at JosieThomson HQ is to support people to be their best when it matters most. These skills are learnable and that is how I can help. One of the things that participants appreciate most about my presentations, trainings and workshops is that they benefit both at work and at home.

Taking the time to authentically appreciate others will pay dividends in healthier, happier and more successful relationships.

Now you know this secret – all you have to do is appreciate it and use it!

 

So, there you have it. I’ve shared some strategies for you to experience the gift that keeps on giving – to balance the scales with appreciation for a more fulfilling experience towards your goals.

If your organization is looking for ways to build practical strategies for improvement leadership through times of change, check out my presentations and workshop offerings over on my website at josiethomson.com. For individuals seeking more focused support in changing bad habits, ending unhealthy thinking and taking control of your life, check out the YANYB online program delivered by myself and Dr Jeffrey M Schwartz, leading neuroscientist on OCD and neuroplasticity. I also offer membership to an exclusive inner tribe called Coffee, Tea & Josie where I explore and equip members with practical life strategies to live fuller, healthier, joyful and more empowered lives. If it’s a new career or challenge you’re seeking, check out my new online Career Transition Program.

Feedback is the meal of champions and I love to eat! Please share your thoughts below about appreciation and how you’re using it in your leadership practice. You may know someone who does this effectively, so share that story with us too.

Until next time remember: it’s not what happens to you that defines you, it’s how you respond that counts.

Shine on!

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  • Neil Hatherly says:

    Josie, I enjoy your blogs. A book that has stayed with me over the years is “The One minute Manager” by Blanchard and Johnson. The take out that has stuck with me is “catch them doing it right”, same message from a book of the 70s!
    Best regards, Neil

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