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High Performance: Mastering the art of appreciation

November 11, 2020 -  By
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The art of appreciation is one of those things that is obviously so beneficial but also so difficult to master for many leaders. More often than not, leaders unknowingly express a lack of appreciation, leading to serious negative consequences, especially with next generation team members who hunger for reassurance.

In exit interviews that I have conducted, one of the most common reasons cited for a person leaving a company was a lack of feeling appreciated. In addition, I have worked with many leaders who admittedly struggle with expressing appreciation, even though they understand how important it is. This is a real problem that continues to plague our companies.

There are plenty of ways managers can show a lack of appreciation. Just off the top of my head, I came up with the following list:

  • Not following through on a commitment you made to me
  • Not taking time out to check in on me
  • Not getting my review done on time
  • Not holding others accountable
  • Not being flexible when I need time off
  • Not providing enough support or resources for me to be successful
  • Not being available when I need you
  • Not respecting my opinions when different from yours
  • Not providing a clean work environment for me and my co-workers
  • Not caring about safety or regulatory guidelines
  • This list could go on and on — you get the picture

Expressing appreciation is truly an art — definitely not a science. If it’s done in an overly systematic way, it may come off as disingenuous or even manipulative. Perhaps this is why some just avoid it altogether. So how do we master this art?

As they say, practice makes perfect. Begin to practice showing appreciation with someone you know and trust, who will give you feedback. If it feels strange or if you are coming across as really awkward, keep practicing. The more you practice, the more natural it will become and the more you will gain confidence in your approach.

Another way to master this art form is to study the pros. Find someone who is naturally gifted in this area and watch them in action. What specifically do they say or do? How do they go about it? When does it take place? Is it a private or public display? By watching a pro at his/her craft, you will not only learn techniques but also be inspired to become a master yourself.

This article is tagged with , and posted in Blog, Expert Insights

About the Author:

Phil Harwood is a Senior Advisor with Tamarisk Business Advisors. Contact him at

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