Appreciation is a powerful way to share positive feelings with others and has been proven to improve job satisfaction. Appreciation can make the world feel brighter and more positive. It is also a key communication tool and plays a role in setting clear expectations for each other. In a bid to reassess our approach to appreciation, and strengthen our team, the User Experience Team came together for a small workshop to discuss our relationship with appreciation at Futuristic Labs.
The Understanding of Appreciation
The first thing we talked about was the importance of appreciation in one’s life. We asked each other: How do people feel being appreciated? How does appreciation (or the lack of it) affect work?
Without appreciation, it's easy to feel like imposter syndrome is pushing people away, and it can be hard to stay motivated to do the same task repeatedly. A lack of appreciation can also lead to a feeling of not being worth anything, even leading to uncertainty about whether or not we're in the right career field. On the other hand, appreciation builds confidence, validates our self-esteem and self-worth, and provides positive reinforcement.
What Keeps People From Appreciating
Everyone wants to receive compliments, but the feeling that we might be judged prevents us from voicing that need. Even when people receive compliments, they feel pressured to take duly given credit while balancing humility and the fear of rejection. Unexpected compliments can lead to questioning of intentions and skepticism about their genuineness. Many people struggle with accepting compliments and acknowledging them in a healthy way, but it is important for the compliment-giver to feel that their efforts and intentions are validated so as not to discourage them from continuing to give compliments.
Giving compliments also comes with its own set of insecurities, such as not feeling confident in one's judgment or becoming insecure by comparing oneself to the recipient of the compliment. There is also uncertainty about how to express appreciation in a formal or work setting, as there is a fear of being misunderstood or coming across as patronizing.
Making Appreciation Part of Everyday Life
This in-depth discussion of the difficulties faced by compliment givers and receivers provided a springboard into brainstorming what could be done to incorporate the habit of appreciation into our work lives.
We reflected on the fact that the preference for being appreciated is different for different people. Some value it more in writing, while others are verbally conveyed. There are many ways appreciation can light up our journey through the work day - seasoning our greetings with an appreciative twist, including a couple of minutes to appreciate each other in our weekly meetings, and ensuring that our feedback sessions are not complete without a highlight of appreciation-worthy elements, are some of the ways to establish appreciation.
Here are a few tips we concluded from the workshop:
When criticizing, be constructive and not dismissive.
Be sure to trust each other’s intentions.
Treat any win as a win, even small ones.
Make sure to voice our appreciation, no matter how small.
The workshop on appreciation was a great reminder of the power of showing appreciation. Everyone needs appreciation and showing it to team members can have a positive impact on motivation, and engagement.