I get a sense of a warm fuzzy feeling when my efforts are appreciated. When my partner, friends, family, colleagues or boss praise my work or my qualities as a person, I’m ecstatic! I feel seen and heard. I feel valued. If I am being completely honest with myself, I constantly seek feedback from my peers. My main reason is that I like to know areas where I can improve however, the bigger chunk of it is that I want to hear things that make me feel good as a person. Words that affirm me.
The five love languages written by Chapman 1992, describe five ways that people receive and express love. For our conversation sake, we will switch this up and replace love with value, recognition, appreciation. Feel free to add more words that truly express that feeling you want at work.
I will only touch on four of these languages that I feel are most relevant to our space; the corporate world. These are; Words of affirmation, Quality time, Acts of service and Receiving gifts. Knowing your employees value language is a way to make them feel appreciated. As a leader one of your biggest responsibilities is knowing your team members personality traits and more so how they feel valued.
You may have a team member who appreciates your full attention when they interact with you. This is that person who will come into your office and you will shut your laptop off to listen to what they say intently; giving them eye contact. For this individual, knowing you are present makes them feel valued.
While most employees may want to work under very minimal supervision, others appreciate when you get down and dirty with them. Helping a Sales Executive make those cold calls, taking them for client meetings, contributing your input in a pitch; this makes them feel that you are together in the journey. That you are also willing to get down and do what you ask of them. This gives them the drive to work harder and perform better.
Nothing brings a smile to any person quicker than receiving a gift. Employee of the month and best performing team member gifts are well liked in corporates. They are meant to encourage the others to want to get that voucher or paid vacation. However, this is not what I am focused on. The employee who feels appreciated through gifts also appreciates the thought behind the gift. They are happy to receive a specialized note book to do their work. An auto biography or novel if they are an avid reader. A pencil holder, if they are the type who like decorating their notes. These are the people who will keep, cherish and remember the smallest of gifts. It is the intent behind the gift that tugs at their heart.
One of the best things we did when I joined @Apptivateafrica is take a personality test as a group and we got to learn and share our personalities. The voicing and articulating your personality clearly, express your expectations to others. It removes the mystery and allows your colleagues and managers know how to work and communicate with you. Leaders get an opportunity to understand their team.
Knowing how to appreciate your employees can be tasking and seem daunting. You have to take that extra step to know your team and seek resources like M-Tuza to make the process easy and have your employees feel appreciated.
By Margaret Kemunto.