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The Sykes Group
2476-115 Nimmo Parkway
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Appreciate to Motivate
(The Five Motivation
Secrets to Successful Team Building)
by Ed Sykes
Mary Kay Ash,
founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, once said, "There are two things
people want more than sex and money...recognition and praise."
Time and time again the one motivating factor at the top of most
employee lists is appreciation for a job well done. It is more
requested than the green stuff, money.
don't more managers, owners, and employees give appreciation? Some
people state they don't know how to give appreciation. Others
don't know what to give appreciation for in the work environment.
Yet others say they are too busy to give appreciation.
think this is the biggest sin of managers, being too busy to motivate
their employees and give appreciation for a good job well done.
Remember what the old transmission commercials used to say, "You can
pay me now or you can pay me later." Well, that is what giving
appreciation is about. You can invest in your employees now and
"pay" them with sincere appreciation and achieve even better
performance. Or you will "pay" later by seeing your team's performance sink,
corrective actions and coachings increase, and overall morale decrease.
following are five motivation tips to giving sincere appreciation that
will motivate your team to soar to a higher level and achieve more:
In order to get the same behavior or
action again, you need to let the employee know exactly what
action(s) you are appreciating. For example, the typical
appreciation attempt sounds like this:
"Mike, you did a great job earlier
today. Keep up the good work!"
"Thanks." (Mike is thinking
what is he complimenting me on?)
The correct way:
"Mike, you did a great job on the
report earlier today. I can see you invested a lot of time on
the report by the detail you put in it. I really appreciate
the effort. Thank you."
"I appreciate you noticed the time
I put into the report. Thanks." (Mike is thinking the
manager really did read it and appreciates his effort. I will
be glad to do it again.)
As you can see, the
employee has a clear understanding of what action the manager is
showing appreciation for and he is motivated to take on the project
Make sure you show appreciation as
soon as possible for the action you appreciate. The further
the distance in time between the appreciation and the action the
less impact it will have to motivate the employee.
"Mike, the report you submitted six
months ago was great. Keep up the good work. Thanks!"
"Thanks, I think. What report
are you taking about?"
Always find the
time to show appreciation in a timely manner. Even if you need
to drop something else, take time to appreciate your employees and
One of the key concerns of students in
my workshops is that when appreciation is shown, it doesn't seem
fair. The biggest villain of this is the dreaded "Employee of
the Month" award. Many times when you ask the "Employees of
the Month" what they did to earn the recognition, they say, "I don't
know." I have one action you must take when giving
Clearly state the rules for
appreciation so that everyone understands how appreciation is
Be consistent when showing
appreciation. If one employee does a favorable action and
you show appreciation and another employee does the same or
similar action and you don't show appreciation, you have just
sown the seeds of bad morale and feelings of favoritism.
Always be on the lookout for
"finding something good" your employees do well. Once you
achieve this mindset, you will always find the good and increase
morale and productivity within your team and organization.
Be pure in your appreciation.
If you show appreciation, don't muddle it with other
communication. In other words, don't show appreciation for
one action and then start discussing a potential corrective
action for another action. This sends mixed signals that
may make the receiver think, "I don't want any appreciation
because there is always something bad attached to it."
Keep it pure!
Be Public, if Possible
Appreciation is not something you
hide. It works best when done publicly. Show your
appreciation in a public way in meetings, in front of team members,
and especially management. The funny thing is that once you
get in the habit of doing this, many of your team members will
increase the activity they need to take to also earn this public
When I ask the question in my
workshops, "Why do you come to work everyday?," I usually get "to
get paid" as the first answer the students give. Then as we
discuss it further, it always comes down to "I feel like I make a
difference" as the main answer. In most cases, the reason why
employees decide to climb out of bed in the morning, their toes
touch the floor, and they decide to drive to work is that they feel
that they make a difference where they work.
I remember an opportunity to emcee a
large sales meeting for a Fortune 500 company. I introduced a
Senior Vice President and he went to the lectern to address over 500
employees. He announced that the company achieved sales of $14
billion. Then he quickly announced that the company goal for
the next year was $17 billion. As he was taking, I was looking
at the audience. They were unusually quiet. However, as
I looked at them they had a glassy-eyed look. I realized the
problem was that the Senior Vice President was just talking numbers.
He didn't relate how those 500+ employees made a positive difference
for the company. All he needed to say was how their sacrifices
translated in the success of the company. Along with this,
they will meet the coming year's challenges only with the talents of
the employees. So simple, but so rarely done.
Relate the action done with how it
affects the team, department and organization. Let's go back
to our earlier examples to complete the appreciation process:
"Mike, you did a great job on the
report for the new computer system earlier today. I can see
you invested a lot of time to do the research so that we have the
necessary information to request the computer system. Mike, we
appreciate your efforts because the new computer system will make
our team more productive so that the department will achieve its
goals and the company will be profitable this year. Bottom
line, bigger bonuses for everyone. I look forward to seeing
your high level of work in the future. Thank you."
"Thanks. I appreciate making a
difference. Please let me know whatever I can do to help the
Mike has a clear
sense of achievement and where he fits in the company. Also,
the manager encouraged Mike to do the same behavior soon by saying,
"I look forward to seeing your high level of work in the future."
And the manager ended with two of the most powerful words that show
These are five simple motivation tips
that will show appreciation and motivate your employees to achieve
more with a minimum amount of efforts. Starting today, apply
these appreciation techniques and you will see a world of difference
in your team, department, and organization. Remember, "pay"
yourself by showing your employees appreciation now or "pay"
yourself with a low performing team later. Appreciate your
employees! Motivate your team! Achieve success!
Suggested team building, leadership,
and motivation reading:
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Want to learn how to prepare yourself for future
career opportunities? Our
Master Your Attitude,
Life After Downsizing,
How to Develop the Leader Within You,
Time Management Skills to Achieve More, and
How to Handle Workplace Stress and Master Your Life programs can
help you lead others to the next level. Also read our
articles on motivation, goal setting, etc. Call us at 757-427-7032 or
e-mail us at
Ed Sykes is a much sought-after professional speaker,
media personality, and author published in
the areas of motivation, leadership, change management, customer service, and teamwork. He
works with business and government organizations who want to reach the next
level of success and individuals who want to perform at their best. You
can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org,
call him at (757) 427-7032 or visit his Web site at
Keywords: Ed Sykes, The Sykes Group,
Edward Sykes, motivation, motivate,
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Motivation Skills Information Request Form
Want to learn create goals to achieve more career success? The following programs will help
you create more success in your life:
Secrets of the Perfect Employee:How to Be the Empowered Employee of
Mastering Your Attitude for Positive Results
Life After Downsizing
Time Management Techniques for Success
How to Look Your Best and
Call us at 757-427-7032 or e-mail
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Suggested Success Resources
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