If it’s true that we teach (or in this case write) what we are learning then I have been on a year-long journey of learning about Gratitude --- specifically I’ve been learning that gratitude is always available and that in any given moment or circumstance we can choose it. When we choose it, our perspectives shift and new possibilities open.
That said, I’m not always the most graceful chooser of gratitude. For some reason, at least in my experience, it seems that some of the most powerful things are conceptually simple. However in practice they are more complex and require extra doses of our intention and attention. Of course, they are also usually worth the effort!
As a sister of Gratitude, Acknowledgement is simple in concept, powerful to change perspective, and completely worth the extra effort. It’s also a choice that is within our power to make every day towards ourselves and others.
There are countless applications in our work and life to show gratitude and acknowledgement. In this post, we’ll focus on our workplaces as they are one of the places that stand to benefit the most from an injection of meaningful acknowledgement.
Regular, consistent practice of acknowledgement combined with some attention towards how to give it, genuinely benefits those we lead, manage and care about it. Beyond that, acts of acknowledgement and appreciation are contagious. The teams and organizations that cultivate them will inevitably be filled with more courageous, innovative and fulfilled teams and happier, motivated employees that want to stick around and continue to bring their brilliance to their work --- something our workplaces and the people that fill them are seriously craving right now.
According to the Work Institute’s 2019 Retention Report since 2010 costs associated with voluntary employee turnover due to toxic workplaces (where appreciation is not the norm!) have nearly doubled from $331 billion to $617 billion. People leave when they aren’t appreciated or acknowledged for their contribution and it’s expensive.
Additionally, only 39% of Millennials have a boss that recognizes their accomplishments. That’s more than 60% who aren’t getting what they want.
Across all generations of employees, underperformance is rampant due to lack of acknowledgement.
So, with the Thanksgiving holiday upon us (depending where you are in the world!) a holiday that at its best reminds us to pause and be grateful it seems appropriate to shine some light and share some tips for giving meaningful and affective appreciation. Our examples are focused on the workplace, but make no mistake these can also be applied with the people you love and who gather around your table. I encourage you as you read through these to think of a time, place and person with whom you could try each of these out with this week. Let’s not just know this stuff, let’s BE it.
Tips for thoughtful, effective, impactful appreciation:
As coach professionals, we know that change doesn’t happen all at once but rather step by step. It’s those increments of change that are the building blocks of success and there’s no better way to keep someone motivated (and learning about themselves!) than to acknowledge those little changes that are amounting to a big win.
Acknowledgement is about seeing people. To really see people, you are going to have to put some extra effort into noticing them. You’ll especially want to pay attention to what they may not be seeing in themselves as they take steps towards the bigger goal. Those small steps are where the real change happens and they are also your opportunity to create learning and motivation and build a culture of acknowledgement. “Acknowledgement Cultures” are places where morale is high, people are satisfied with their jobs and loyal to their bosses and organizations.
We all want acknowledgement for our work and to be appreciated for it --- it helps us learn about ourselves, connect our actions to what’s working and feeds our intrinsic motivation to contribute in new ways that benefit us, our team and the workplace.
Here’s to choosing gratitude and acknowledgement and putting some extra attention towards how we are doing it so that we build teamwork, belonging, retention and generate new perspective and possibilities!
More on Acknowledgement: inviteCHANGE recently hosted a Live Event: How Acknowledgement Builds Teams
and we were lucky to have three superstar leaders who share their real world methods and practices for acknowledging their teams.:
Check out our YouTube channel for a video on Gratitude where I share many of these thoughts and more.
Elisabeth coaches leaders who care about making meaningful contributions and are navigating ambiguous territory personally, professionally and/or organizationally. They are looking to develop their leadership and or align priorities and ambitions. Her coaching cultivates deep self-knowing, trust and access to the wisdom of one’s head and heart resulting in effective and authentic leadership.
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