"Next to physical survival,the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival-to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated and to be appreciated." Stephen Covey
One of the best questions any leader can ask themselves is- How do I really hear what my team needs from me, and orient myself to support them? People feel better understood when you connect to their cause and care enough to show how valuable each person can become to the organization.
According to a recent study by Towers Perrin, the single highest driver of employee engagement is whether the leader is genuinely interested and cares enough for the well- being of their employees.
As leaders, we have the opportunity to look for positive qualities in your team, rather than looking for problems to be fixed. It creates an environment that establishes mutual respect and trust. You have the opportunity to reveal your team strengths, qualities and capabilities by acknowledging what they do right. Sometimes, we take for granted what works right without sincerely appreciating the value of people’s daily contribution.
Here is an example how you can acknowledge someone at work, “James, as I watched you run your team meetings, I saw your ability to deeply listen to your team. Your openness and patience allowed them to speak honestly, which in turn helps them grow.”
Acknowledgment goes beyond the person’s action to recognize the qualities and characteristics that enable that person to do what they did. We acknowledge specific qualities and actions that we really like and admire about someone. We bring their inner- character value to light.
"Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, Make Me Feel Important. Not only you will succeed in Service, you will succeed in life." Mary Kay Ash
Here is a simple way to think about it-Remind people who they are instead of what they did or didn’t do. So how can you as a leader acknowledge others better to create an engaging environment?
- Identify the qualities that enabled your team member to perform as they did.
- Keep your acknowledgment simple and to the point.
- Be honest and speak from the heart. Be authentic in your communication it has a better impact.
Appreciation and acknowledgement focuses on performance and the employee value as a person. It begins with the leader’s acts of service.