I introduced the gift of appreciation in part one of this part one of this post and encouraged you to take a 30-day challenge in showing appreciation to your associates. Those of you who rose to that challenge are undoubtedly sold on the idea that your shows of appreciation are gifts that will translate into higher productivity and drive among your employees.
If you are ready to develop this gift fully, I encourage you to follow the 7 steps I have outlined below. I have taught these steps to thousands of leaders who have told me repeatedly that they work and have changed their perspective as leaders.
- Pick up an inexpensive spiral notebook (or use your smart phone or computer if it's easily accessible) and label a page for everyone who works for you.
- Write down examples of the strengths you see in those associates. Plan to take time daily for this activity.
- Scan the notebook once a week and ask, "Who needs a word of appreciation from me?" Prepare to tell the person the strength and then the specific example of when/where you saw him or her doing this. (For more on this way of expressing appreciation, see part 1 of this post here.)
- Scan the notebook at least once a week and ask, "Who needs a written note of appreciation from me?" Again, tell the person the strength and the specific example, but in writing.
- Avoid any mention of improvements your employees need to make. That is for another time.
- Be consistent. Don't miss a single day jotting entries in your notebook to use later. Don't miss a single week without someone hearing from you.
- Take a risk and try this at home with your children, spouse, or significant other.
It takes about twelve weeks before you will start seeing a change in both your attitude toward these associates and their performance. When you start to look for the things people do right, it will alter your perspective; you will begin to see the person you were ignoring all along.