When was the last time you showed your colleagues that you appreciated them? I’m not just talking about acknowledging a job well done with a “thank you”, no matter how heartfelt and sincere it was. I’m talking about the last time you actually paid someone a compliment.
Recognition and appreciation, while often used as alternative words for one another, are actually different things.
Recognition is an acknowledgement of something that has been done, be that a project completed ahead of time or general good performance. It’s a one-off event that doesn’t require that much thought or really show the individual that they are valued beyond the value of the task. And as we outlined in the January Bulletin, recognition schemes don’t necessarily inspire others in the organisation to up their game – often quite the reverse.
Appreciation, on the other hand, is about showing an individual that you value them for who they are, not what they do for the department or the organisation.
It may not seem to provide the big gesture that official recognition can, but when colleagues and employees feel appreciated, it can lead to a more positive working environment that more formal forms of recognition can.
Here are some things to consider when showing your colleagues some ‘love’ (I can already hear all you employment lawyers out there counting your fees – simmer down and tuck in to a little Plato to wise up on what he meant by love):
This can be as simple as making sure you say hello to your colleagues in the morning. Research has shown that a simple “hello” and “goodbye” to bookend the day can increase trust and engagement levels. For a deeper level of checking in, take time to find out what challenges someone has got going on –but crucially, take the time to really tune in.
How many times have you spoken to someone who has started checking their phone or their emails while you’ve been trying to tell them something really crucial or even painful? It doesn’t feel great, and it’s a surefire way of ensuring the person talking begins to doubt your sincerity. Minimise distractions, and give someone your full attention.
Does your colleague have great organising skills? Do they brighten up the office with their positivity? Then tell them. Letting someone know what you value about them can improve how they feel about both themselves and their relationship with you.
So today, try showing your colleagues a little Platonic love by way of giving them a little more time or attention or a simple thank you. It's a no-cost way of making work and life nicer for just a few minutes each time.