Acknowledgement and appreciation; the hidden link to company success

One of the best leaders I ever had knew the power of acknowledgement and appreciation. It wasn’t just that he took an interest in his team and said ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ He invited us to take on bigger challenges and step up because he believed in each member of his team. One way he appreciated people was to encourage us to focus on our strengths. His acknowledgement and appreciation allowed us to develop our superpowers and be the best version of ourselves. Team members would invariably go the extra mile for him. 

Of course, we have all experienced the opposite style of leadership with someone who only gives you feedback when something is wrong. It’s a style that may be more widespread than we realise. Gallup’s research highlights a startling reality: only one in three U.S. workers feels engaged in their job. Even more alarming, 79% of employees who leave their jobs cite a “lack of appreciation” as a key reason for their departure. These figures underscore a critical gap in leaders’ perceptions about the link between team performance and overall company success.

In the HBR article, The Little Things That Make Employees Feel Appreciated, the authors surfaced notable gaps between managers’ and employees’ perceptions. They speculate it is explained by the ‘illusion of transparency,’ or people’s tendency to overestimate how visible their emotions are to others. Managers incorrectly assumed employees knew how they felt about them. However, without explicit communication and acknowledgment, these feelings often remain unnoticed, leading employees to feel undervalued and overlooked.

To bridge this gap and foster a more engaged and productive workforce, the article suggests some deliberate steps leaders can take to ensure their team members feel valued and appreciated:

  1. Touch Base Early and Often: Regular check-ins with employees can make a significant difference. 
  2. Give Balanced Feedback: Constructive feedback is essential, but it should be balanced with positive reinforcement. 
  3. Address Growth Opportunities: Showing that you genuinely care about employees’ professional development is crucial.   
  4. Offer Flexibility: Flexible working arrangements can significantly enhance job satisfaction.   
  5. Make It a Habit: Consistency is key. Regularly expressing appreciation and acknowledgment should become a natural part of your leadership style.   

Acknowledgement and appreciation can unlock your team’s full potential and drive organisational success.

🙋 What is your experience of the value of acknowledgement and appreciation? 🙋‍♀️

Best regards, Brian