Seriously?  Absolutely no-one I know.  Ever.  As we move through the month of February, I’m drawn back to this essential communication skill, based on a recent personal experience with a global, corporate client of mine.  As part of a team which supports different leadership groups; I was invited to choose a gift (one from a choice of two), for which I was delighted.  “Thank you very much”, I thought.  And then, it started to go wrong, and all the positive sentiment behind the initiative was replaced by irritation, frustration, shame and a complete and total lack of empathy.

I had to sign up to/download a link to something (blah, blah, blah).
“Have you had the link yet I was asked?”  ‘No’, came the reply.
“You will have had it, double check” was the response.  ‘I did and I haven’t’ came my reply.
“Well then you probably didn’t sign up properly.”  ‘I did, I checked’, came the response.
“Redo it”.  I did. (At this point I’m fantasizing about what they can do with their gift).
“Have you downloaded the link yet?”.  Yes.
“Has it worked?”  No (again).
“Well, can you contact XYZ, do ABC, then call DEF and at some point before the end of time you’ll get your gift.  Because we appreciate you!!!”

Are you serious? I thought.  Have you completely lost your mind?  It absolutely, certainly didn’t feel like it.  So what’s my point?

Appreciation is a serious business.  A glorious business.  A massively enjoyable business.  A leadership business.

And yet we rarely make enough time for it.

It’s never about the gift.  It’s about the thought.  The time.  The effort.  Not the monetary value.  Some of us will think: “yes that’s great Sarah, but I’d like a 20% pay rise anyway.”  Of course, who wouldn’t?  My point relates to when it’s not about a pay rise.  In fact, if the only reason our team will stay is if they get a pay rise, then I argue that we’ve left it too late, too long to help them feel engaged and highly valued as a member of our team through regular appreciation.  Remember when we do this well, people stay in spite of the fact that they might get more money elsewhere.

When it comes to the art and the magic of appreciation, I believe we don’t want ‘things’; we want ‘thought’.  We want care, kindness, generosity of spirit rather than generosity of wallet.

It’s time to show the love (appropriately!) for our team.  We all work in a relationship business, whatever our sector, role or area of expertise.  We all need others to help us succeed and we all need to feel that spectacularly good feeling that comes from being truly, authentically appreciated.

So, who is overdue appreciation from you today?  And what can you do about it now?

Until next time…

PS Still no gift.  That’s totally fine.  The moment and the thought are lost.  And it was the thought; and only the thought that counted.  Nothing else.

Sarah Brummitt FFIPI AICI CIP