With everything going on in the office, it can be easy to forget to stop and appreciate your team members and coworkers, but that doesn't mean it's okay. Workplace appreciation is critical to avoiding a toxic workplace.
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The following three tips are easy ways to make appreciation part of your busy workplace's culture:
1. Start Your Staff Meetings by Asking People to Report on the Appreciation and Encouragement Being Given and Received in the Office
Reinforce the importance of appreciation by asking team members to share examples of appreciation they have received or observed someone else receiving. Do this at the beginning of the meeting. If you wait until the end, you risk running out of time and having the skip it altogether.
You can kick things off by sharing an example yourself, or you can ask a colleague ahead of time to prepare a story. When you consistently ask for examples at every meeting, people will realize this isn't just a passing fad.
2. Remind Team Members That Speed and Specifics Are Vital to Communicating Appreciation at Work
Make sure your team knows that quick (at least, timely) feedback creates the most impact. Additionally, train your team members to provide specific details about the behaviors they're appreciating, including why the behavior is important to them, to the team, to the organization, and/or to customers and clients.
Often, employees don't fully understand how their behavior influences others and impacts the organization. When you or anyone on your team shows appreciation for colleagues, this impact should be communicated.
3. For Remote and Distributed Teams, Be Proactive, Be Personal, and Prioritize
When team members don't work in the same physical location, you don't have those spontaneous interactions that occur in the break room, hallway, parking lot, or elevator. As a result, you have to be proactive and plan casual interactions. You have to actively call and "check in" with your colleagues so that you can deliver appreciation.
Also, these interactions should be personal. Don't limit the conversation to work. Set up occasional times just to chat with people to see what is going on their lives. What did they do this past weekend? How are their kids doing? What are they involved in outside of work? Your relationships with team members and colleagues can be sterile and utilitarian if you only talk about work issues.
Finally, you have to prioritize if you have a lot of team members who work remotely. Call, email, text, or video conference with individuals who may be particularly discouraged. Then, when you have more time, reach out to the rest of the team.
Paul White, Ph.D., is a speaker, trainer, author, and psychologist who "makes work relationships work."