Appreciation is the act of shifting focus to another person rather than on yourself. As a project manager, this is a big deal. Since it’s not your job to do all the work, you have to do it through other people. As Bruce Harpham states at his blog, “project managers focus on leadership and [on] supporting their team.”
Research to Appreciate
There is substantial research on the subject of appreciation. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed think that appreciation has the greatest impact on employee engagement. Additionally, companies with stronger engagement levels have a 19% lower turnover rate. Appreciation is especially warranted in institutional settings that lack traditional management tools such as regular performance reviews.
5 Things that Merit Merit
As Harpham counsels, appreciation is not only relevant under extreme circumstances; it is also great under the following everyday circumstances:
- Acts of courageous dissent
- Dealing with upset customers
- Working overtime
- Effective learning
- Solving tough problems
For instance, someone disagrees with a fundamental strategy or approach of the project. Honest disagreement takes guts and should be awarded with appreciation. Another example is when your team deals with angry or disappointed customers. Again, not something may people like to do. Handling it with finesse deserves appreciation. Someone who stays late to finish an important aspect of the project – boom – appreciation granted. In the future, this person will gladly make sure every “I” is dotted, every “T” crossed.
Then there is the “newbie” team member. No one is hungrier to prove their worth then the newly initiated. Acknowledge their achievements with a note of recognition. Lastly, the person who cracks that difficult nut-of-a-problem deserves the appropriate recognition. There are five ways you can go about it, and verbal affirmation is common but not always the best. Spending quality time is a way to show appreciation. A gift, for something particularly significant, is effective. Providing help equals appreciation too. Also, touch is a great way to express “great job.” Of course, a pat on the back is what we have in mind here. Even a handshake will do.
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