Appreciation breeds high performance

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Gallop has been carrying out large scale research into employee happiness and performance for over a decade.

The results aren’t pretty.

Their research indicates that staff discontent is very common in many companies. In fact, millions of workers report being extremely negative, or ‘actively disengaged’ at work. In other words, they’re not just unhappy, they’re merely going through the motions.

We talk of the problem of absenteeism, but surely even more dangerous is ‘presenteeism’- employees that turn up at work physically, but don’t bring their heart and mind along as well.

This phenomenon is costly.

Gallup estimates that employees who do not bring their whole selves to the workplace cost the economy hundreds of millions each year in lost productivity. The cost in company happiness is no doubt higher still.

As leaders,we know that one of our primary jobs is to get the best performance out of our team members. But how do we do that, when we are often faced with discontent and ambivalence from employees?

The answer may be simpler than you think.

It turns out that almost all workers are crying out for something that we as leaders could so easily give them.


Gallup’s research shows that praise is extremely rare in most workplaces. In fact the majority of employees report that they have received ZERO recognition in the last year!

How can we, as leaders, change this?

Here are three powerful techniques for showing appreciation to your staff:

1. Follow the 3 to 1 ratio
Leaders who have three positive interactions for every one negative with their team members end up with vastly happier and better performing staff.

2. Always enter the office in a positive way
When you haven’t seen your team for over two hours, make sure when you enter their area that you are warm, upbeat and fully present with them- for at least the first few minutes. Show that you appreciate them by how well you treat them in those critical first moments.

3. Praise in public
When you show appreciation to a staff member, try to do so in front of others. This makes the appreciation much more powerful- and usually lifts and motivates other staff as well.

In conclusion, make appreciation a central part of your leadership style and you won’t just have happier employees, you’ll have far more productive ones as well.

WORDS Siimon Reynolds

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