February 21, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Words of Appreciation – 3 Reasons why they are not used

By Dr Paul White

It is good to be reminded of the importance of communicating appreciation to staff and team members. When employees/team members truly feel valued and appreciated, good things follow. This article will explain what the benefits are and why more people are not using words of appreciation.

language of appreciationThe power of appreciation lies in the fact that people are more likely to show up for work (and on time), follow established policies and procedures, and get more work done. Their job satisfaction ratings go up, and their employee engagement increases. Also, when staff/team members feel appreciated, customer ratings tend to rise, and the managers who are giving appreciation, report enjoying their work more.

So if all these positive results occur, why isn’t appreciation communicated more? And what should we do about it?

1.     Manager are too busy

Managers and employees report that they are too busy. Virtually everyone states they already have too much to do, and don’t have any time (or mental space) to think about another set of tasks. Busyness is, far and above all other reasons, the primary reason people cite for not communicating appreciation.

How to resolve

Don’t create another “to do” list – you don’t need more to do. Rather, make sure that the efforts and actions you take “hit the mark”. Realize that not everyone feels appreciated in the same ways; find out what is meaningful to your team members and communicate appreciation through these actions. Yes, this does take time, but it is a worthy investment.

2.     Not compatible with work

To many, showing appreciation is not compatible with the nature of work and work-relationships. Work, by definition, is focused on getting tasks done. Companies either manufacture and sell goods, or they provide services. So this is focus of every employee’s day.

How to resolve

There has to be a balance of working together with others as people (employees are not just “production units” or machines) and getting the work done. Most companies have employee recognition programs but it has become evident that they aren’t working to make employees feel valued. Team members will feel valued when appreciation is communicated regularly, personally and in a manner that is perceived as genuine and authentic.

3.     People don’t value you

Some people don’t think appreciation should be communicated, or they really don’t value those with whom they work. When leaders don’t really value recognizing or encouraging their employees (the “I show them I appreciate them by paying them” approach), there is not much to do except to let them experience the results of their choices. Typically, these leaders have the highest turnover rate and lowest job satisfaction ratings by their staff.

How to resolve

There are times when some colleagues are difficult to work with, or people just don’t get along very well. And it best not to try to “fake” communicating appreciation when it isn’t really there.

Most often, actually, it is not that appreciation isn’t communicated but that it isn’t communicated in the ways important to the recipient – which is practically the same as not being communicated at all.

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About the author:  Paul White, Ph.D., is co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace and creator of the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory, which identifies individuals’ preferred ways of being shown appreciation. To learn more, visit www.appreciationatwork.com


To know more about the 5 Languages of appreciation, read the previous article: Project Management Skills: Languages of Appreciation