According to Inc. magazine, showing appreciation is not just a nice thing to do, it goes a long way toward increasing motivation, productivity, and morale.    When we interview people for positions on an eye care team, we will ask “What motivates you?” and most of the time the answer is “appreciation.”  I think  most leaders know the value of showing appreciation, but what is difference between empty and effective praise?

There are three simple attributes of effective appreciation and praise:

  1. Sincere – is the praise “from the heart” and genuine, or is it what you think you need to do?
  2. Specific – is the appreciation easy to identify and relate to?
  3. Consistent – is the praise and appreciation consistent with the mission of the organization?

High performance teams use appreciation as the fuel for their motivation.

Work life can be stressful and demanding, leaving some members of the team exhausted and deflated, true appreciation keeps morale up and can refresh energy levels.

Many leaders ask “if appreciation is so important where is mine?”

Effective leaders have found that appreciation is contagious, and when it comes in the form of sincere and specific praise consistent with the mission, the culture reciprocates those sentiments and the “upward appreciation” flow naturally.  I’m not talking about brown nosing here, but real appreciation and gratitude.

Remember the keys to quality praise:

Be sincere – spontaneous, heart-felt praise goes a long way.   If the only reason you are showing appreciation is because you think it has to be done, think again.

Be specific – many private practice owners say “You are the best team in the world” and while that is appreciated and heard, it doesn’t pass the shallow test.   Specific praise such as “I love how you handled that situation…  You are an example to all of us.” is much more genuine.

Be consistent – does the praise line up well with your mission?  “Thanks for scrambling to help that emergency today” is much more in line with the mission than “thanks for rescheduling my 4 o’clock so I can make my tee time.”