Nov 11, 2015

Have you met anyone who complained about receiving too much appreciation?

Think about this: have you met anyone who quit his job because his boss had appreciated him too often? – See, we neither! The opposite is usually the case. Staff members are not appreciated often enough. We probably all know this thought „If I’m not critizised my boss seems so be satisfied with me!“. Some executives even think this is cool, but our staff members often are disappointed – and at the end of the day get frustrated and quite demotivated over time.

But how are appreciation and motivation linked up?

It’s quite obvious that appreciating staff members motivates them to go the extra mile. But, some executives think that when giving too much appreciation staff members will run riot. We believe, you can’t praise someone too often, if you do it the right way.  

Staff – and superiors as well – are motivated by different reasons to do a good job. Frederick Herzberg, well-known US psychologist and management thinker, showed in his motivation model that working motivation is influenced by two factors: Motivators and Stabilizers.

Motivators increase satisfaction and performance. 

Motivators are: interesting tasks, autonomous working, personal responsibility, empowerment for decisions, successes, appreciation for good results from your superior, and career opportunities.

Stabilizers include all your working conditions. 

They stabilize the team atmosphere and prevent dissatisfaction. Stabilizers are: good work place equipments, adaquate salary and social benefits, job security, satisfying relationships with colleagues, and attractive company image. 

So, if you appreciate good results of your staff you pay into the motivators and increase performance.

How do you to articulate your appreciation in a way that it is heared and believed?

We often observe that executives struggle with positive feedback. They think that they always have to suggest how things can be done better instead of just expressing an appreciation.

Try to avoid this example: „You have worked well on this document, but on page 5,6, and 10 are typos.“ You’re reducing the impact of your positive feedback immediately with your critisism. Your employee will not remember the positive message but rather get hooked on the negative.

We suggest this: „You have worked well on this document. Your research was good and you wrote the report in a very clear way.“ – Then you pause! Let the message sink in. Now you can continue with: „Could you please check pages 5,6, and 10 again for typos.“

Can you see the difference between these two small examples? 

The first approach is focused on mistakes. The second approach is focused on taking personal responsibility for the work piece. This is a strong and positive message for your employee. You’re expressing that you believe he’s skilled enough for this job and autonomous enough for healing the mistake alone. Understanding this message your employee will definitely want more of your appreciation and will try harder the next time.

We encourage you to appreciate your employees more often and give concrete positive feedback. 

Over time you will observe how motivation in your team increases and atmosphere stabilizes. We see this in our work with executives and teams all the time and it makes us smile every time.