Appreciation: It’s a Critical Skill that Every Manager Needs to Learn

I’ve many sources for inspiration for this blog, but one that has rapidly become a favorite is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has become a powerful resource for far more than recruiting leads. The amount of knowledge, insight and wisdom shared by people from across industries, jobs, roles, and functions is simply astounding.

Today, I’d like to share such insight and wisdom from two influencers who happened to appear in the same notification email earlier this week.

The “Why” of appreciation

First, from Suzy Welch, co-author of The Real Life MBA with her husband Jack Welch, is Three (Unprofessional) Ways to Get Ahead at Work.

I particularly enjoyed her positioning as it highlights how basic life skills (read more, express thanks, volunteer) are powerfully important in both our personal and work lives, lending to the idea of work-life blending. Speaking to the importance of writing thank you notes, Ms. Welch says:

The best manager I’ve ever known used to keep a small piece of paper taped to her desk. “Gratitude,” it read. And gratitude she did indeed display, to each member of the team, with an authenticity and warmth that inspired nothing short of devotion from us all. But one weekend, I found out that my manager’s generosity of spirit was not a work thing. It was a life thing. Through a series of unexpected events, I ended up giving her a ride to a funeral of mutual acquaintance. Her car was in the shop; another ride fell through. I offered to help, she accepted, and when I dropped her off afterward, that was really the last I thought of it.

The next morning, though, my inbox contained a beautiful thank you note. It didn’t sound all that different from her work missives, actually. And that’s when I realized that saying thank you all the time is a discipline. It’s a practice, and a personality trait. It’s a heart thing. Do it in your off hours, and chances are, you’ll keep it going when you walk into the office. The upshot? A reputation as someone who understands that nothing good ever happens alone. Or put another way, the reputation of a natural leader.”

Inspiration for appreciation

Expressing gratitude – sharing your appreciation for the efforts, contributions and successes of others – is a management muscle that must be exercised. But really, it is simply exercising your heart.

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Do you need ideas on how to increase your capacity for gratitude and appreciation. Shawn Achor (author of The Happiness Advantage) has six daily exercises (all taking less than 3 minutes) to help.

Are you not quite convinced on the importance of the Power of Thanks? Jeff Haden shared 40 Inspiring Quotes on Feeling Grateful.  Here are my five (5) favorites:

  • Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” — William Arthur Ward
  • “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder” —  G.K. Chesterton
  • Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy” — Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
  • The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement”  — Charles Schwab
  • The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated” — William James

What “life skills” do you find important to achieving success in the workplace, too?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.

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