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The Sykes Group
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Motivation Article

Appreciate to Motivate

(The Five Motivation Secrets to Successful Team Building)

by Ed Sykes



motivation, motivate, employee motivation, success, Mary Kay, inspiration, Ed Sykes, The Sykes Group    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.

    Why 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.

    I 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.

    The following are five motivation tips to giving sincere appreciation that will motivate your team to soar to a higher level and achieve more:

  1. Be Specific

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:

 

Manager:

 

"Mike, you did a great job earlier today.  Keep up the good work!"

 

Mike:

 

"Thanks." (Mike is thinking what is he complimenting me on?)

 

 

The correct way:

 

Manager:

 

"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."

 

Mike:

 

"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 again.

  1. Be Timely

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.

 

Manager:

 

"Mike, the report you submitted six months ago was great.  Keep up the good work.  Thanks!"

 

Mike:

 

"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 co-workers.

  1. Be Fair

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 appreciation...be consistent!

 

  1. Clearly state the rules for appreciation so that everyone understands how appreciation is earned.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  1. 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 appreciation.

  1. Be Relational"

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:

 

Manager:

 

"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."

 

Mike:

 

"Thanks.  I appreciate making a difference.  Please let me know whatever I can do to help the team."

 

    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 appreciation..."thank you."

 

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:

Success Starts with Walking Through the Door: Seven Secrets to Achieving Outrageous Success in Your Life!

Success Story: Seven Success Secrets that Marion Bartoli Can Teach You to Achieve More Success in Your Life

Seven Secrets for Creating Outrageous Success in Your Life!

Leadership Starts With Giving:  Three Secrets to Attracting More Success in Your Life by Making a Difference

Are You Singing Your Song of Success? Five Secrets to Following Your Dreams and Achieving More Success in Your Life

Leadership Starts with Tough Decisions:  Five Leadership Skills for Outstanding Team Building

JumpStart Your Employee Motivation: Ten Motivation Secrets to Empower Your Team

The Secret to Living Your Dreams: Five Success Techniques to Achieving More Success in Your Life!

Seven Change Management Secrets to Creating a Winning Culture of Change
Are You Building Your Foundation of Success: Six Secrets of Motivating Yourself for Success

Employee Motivation, Don Imus, and Team Building: Five Secrets of Motivated Teams

Motivate Your Customer Service Team for Outstanding Customer Service: Six Secrets of Customer Service Motivation

Life Before Downsizing: Six Secrets to Managing Change and Creating Opportunities for the Future

Success Starts with a Can Do Attitude: Three Secrets to Creating More Success

Coaching: How to Succeed in Half the Time Using a Personal Coach

Leadership Techniques for Anyone: How Kermit Shared Five Leadership Secrets with the World

Eight Leadership Techniques for Outstanding Teams

Motivate Your Team! Eight Quick Tips to Motivate for Success

Adversity: Your Seed of Greatness (Three Secrets to Using Adversity to Become Great)

Connect the Dots! Your Roadmap for Success

Every Super Hero Needs Theme Music. What’s Yours?

Seven Secrets to Being the Leader Everyone Wants to Follow

Have You Appreciated Someone Today?

Nine Ways Johnny Carson Can Help You Run Outstanding Meetings

Five Secrets to Gaining Credibility with Your Team for Outstanding Results

How Appetizing Is Your Feedback? (5 Steps to Giving Effective Feedback)

Ten Techniques for Motivating Others Through Chaos

10 Action Steps to Motivate Yourself to Great Accomplishments

Eight Ways to Motivate Part-Time Employees

Delegate to Accelerate Success (How to Prepare Yourself and Others for Success)

The Greatest Gift of All - The Gift of Empowerment

Leadership Secrets for Challenging Times

 

Want to learn how to prepare yourself for future career opportunities? Our Master Your Attitude, Team Building, 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 info@thesykesgrp.com.


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 esykes@thesykesgrp.com, call him at (757) 427-7032 or visit his Web site at www.thesykesgrp.com.

 

Keywords:  Ed Sykes, The Sykes Group, Edward Sykes, motivation, motivate, employee motivation, appreciation, motivate employees, team appreciation, team motivation, motivate your team, appreciate motivate, appreciate to motivate

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