Embracing That Which We At First Don’t Like

Last week we discussed the importance of awareness in becoming an engaged manager.  This week my focus is on the second of the Four A’s which is appreciation.  Searching the dictionary for a definition of appreciation we find words such as gratefulness, positive opinion, valuing something highly, full understanding, and a statement of praise. As managers we are accountable for the outputs of our employees.  We want them to put forth their best efforts and be the most effective they can be to complete the tasks assigned them in the best way possible.  How do we do that?

There are specific skills managers can learn to be effective in assigning tasks and monitoring progress. These will be topics for future blogs.  However a manager’s mindset towards employees and for that matter, colleagues can have significant impact on their own and other’s effectiveness.   When we as managers come from a mindset of appreciation we create a work atmosphere in which others want to do their best.  It is important for managers to come from a mindset that appreciates different behaviors, attitudes and beliefs.  You don’t have to like it but you can appreciate the difference and try to learn from it.  This can be the difference between a highly successful organization and one that doesn’t realize its potential.

I find the best way to discuss this concept is to go back to the “golden rule” with which most of us are familiar.  Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you! Thousands of years old it still rings true.  People want to be appreciated.  They want to be thought of highly and positively, be fully understood, have their efforts met with gratefulness.  Be appreciated for the contribution they make.  Kind words, and sensitivity go a long way.

Most of us are frazzled, ever busy, having little time to stop and think or thank someone for what they just did.  Our interactions with our employees can develop into us barking orders treating them as if they are mechanical beings.  This serves no one, and builds resentment on the part of many.

To develop a mindset of appreciation, use these simple tips.

  1. Ask yourself each day “Have I expressed my appreciation to any of my employees today?”
  2. Notice how quickly you can get irritated with an employee and ask yourself why?  Then ask, how might I express my appreciation to this person?
  3. Think about how you feel when your boss or a colleague expresses their appreciation for your efforts or behavior.  Recognize others are not so different.  Mimicking the behavior of a colleague with a mindset of appreciating others might be a good first step.  But be sincere about it as people can see through inauthentic attitudes and ehaviors.

If you try these simple suggestions you will find after a short period of time your mindset will change to one of appreciating others which affects everyone on the team.