Practicing Appreciation

Teamwork is important.

I read articles about how to make teams better all the time. As I read them, I go through a mental “true or false” test.  The more I find myself saying “true,” the more I validate the article.

 My appreciation grows for the article when it gives me a new angle on things I believe to be true. For one, it expands my ability to evaluate teams. For two, it gives me fresh ways to explain the complex dynamic that teamwork is. It’s been my experience that everyone knows teamwork when they see it or experience it, but not everyone knows how to create a team environment.

 So, I read a teamwork analysis the other day. It describes the things effective teams do. I liked them because it gives you a chance to do a gut check on how your team performs and how you contribute.

 Interestingly, one of the primary ways teams flourish is when members express appreciation for each other. Sincere appreciation.

 What do you think about the level of appreciation on your team?

 Is there appreciation expressed often? Who does it? What circumstances cause it to happen? Who does it most effectively? What makes them effective?

 Turn the test inward. Each of us is on a number of teams or functions in different groups. Sit and think about those groups a bit. See the picture in your head of each one. Think about what you appreciate about them.

 This idea can stretch pretty far. To customers: those who communicate, express their loyalty through long-term relationships, give us a second look in competitive markets, and work with us when we fall short. To family members, neighbors, suppliers, good waitresses, teachers who made a difference awhile back, those that make a difference right now. You get the point?

 For me, a good old dose of appreciation will make my day. Don’t need too much – it can go to my head.

So, my challenge to you is to become a skilled appreciator. Practice it at work, every day. Send an email or a text. Stop a supervisor as they pass. Tell your forklift driver or the payroll person you appreciate their accuracy.  There is virtue in consistency, professionalism, meeting and exceeding expectations. Acknowledge it. Express it. The article says our teams will improve if you do.