Want a Culture of Appreciation at Work? It All Starts with You

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Oct 17, 2014

Tell me about your workplace environment. What’s the general attitude or “feel” of the office?

Hopeful and energetic? Downtrodden and despondent? Somewhere in between?

What’s your personal reaction to this environment? How do you work within it or contribute to improving it? Do you see this as your responsibility?

Everyone is responsible

I believe it is every person’s responsibility to contribute to a work environment and culture they want. If you think about it, every person already is – consciously or subconsciously – by their regular comments, efforts, actions and interactions. The challenge is that those “cultural contributions” can be positive or negative.

So, how do you – and I mean you, personally and individually – create a culture of appreciation? It starts by choosing to be more appreciative yourself, with no hidden agenda but out of a sincere desire to notice, acknowledge and praise the good work of those around you.

Laurie Ruettimann shares a good story in her post yesterday on TLNT, with this key piece of advice:

The way you thank people is by doing good work yourself and not looking for a thank you. When you get a chance to pay it forward and say thank you, do it. But don’t wait around for a letter of thanks to come your way.” (Emphasis original)

3 ways to create a better culture

Let’s break that down:

  1. Do good work – Committing to doing your very best work every day signals to those on your team who rely on you that you are also committed to their success. It communicates that you will do all you can to “own” the work and not burden them further. It acknowledges that you know the value of good work yourself.
  2. Don’t ask for thanks – Unfortunately, this question comes up in many facilitated session I lead on recognition. “What about the people who expect some kind of recognition for every little thing, even when it’s part of their regular job?” My advice to you – don’t contribute to the problem. Good work gets noticed. If you don’t feel you’re being recognized for your good efforts, then refer to Point 1 above and Point 3 below.
  3. Say “thank you” to others – Create the culture you want to be part of. Nobody says “thank you” to you? Start saying “thank you” to others. When you notice good work, desirable behaviors or exceptional effort, make the effort to show the appreciation you’d like to receive in turn. You can be the catalyst of change.

Wanted: A meaningful show of thanks

Now, today, look around your workplace. Consider the people you work with. Who can you proactively say “thank you” to in a meaningful, personal and specific way?

What’s stopping you?

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