If You REALLY Appreciate Me, Be Specific

By Silver Rose

If you REALLY Appreciate Me – Be Specific!

My friend Judy, who has worked in Human Resources for many years, laments how busy we have gotten. She swears she once witnessed a cubicle “drive by” wherein a manager lobbed a plaque – an appreciation plaque, no less – over the recipient’s wall, yelling “Thanks for all the great work!” as he rushed off to “honor” the next lucky employee.

Now, Judy has been known to exaggerate but she doesn’t lie. She may not have witnessed this exact scenario, but I promise she saw something equally disturbing.
Employees don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses. One of their most common complaints is, “No one appreciates what we’re doing.” If they STAY on the job, you need to worry about how they treat your customers. Employees who feel unappreciated are unlikely to be good to your customers.

And the beat goes on.

The easiest way to treat employees (or co-workers or even our children) well is to show them you appreciate their work. A simple, “Thank you,” although certainly better than nothing, is not enough. Much like the phrase, “Have a nice day,” it has come to be one of those meaningless phrases we utter often and without much conviction.

We all want details. Are you REALLY thankful for what I did? Then please tell me specifically what you liked. How can I do it again in my ongoing effort to please you, if I don’t know what it was you liked?

When you get a five-page report on your desk, you can estimate that the writer spent approximately five hours doing the necessary research and writing. He worked hard to make sure it had all the details required and to pass it in on deadline, looking good and well-edited.

If YOU labored for five hours on a report, wouldn’t you want to know (1) that it was appreciated, and (2) that someone actually READ it? Many managers find it impossible to even acknowledge they received the report!

Here is a quick and easy way to make the report writer feel appreciated. Provide him detailed, specific feedback. It would sound something like this, “Hank, I received the report on the Fairmont Project. First of all, thanks for getting it done on deadline. That makes my job easier. I looked it over and I was pleased with several things. It’s well written and easy to understand. Second, I really liked the bar graphs you used to demonstrate the ROI figures. I wouldn’t have thought to do that and it works well I also noticed you sent copies to the entire team which was the right thing to do. Well done!”

At this point, if you also need to discuss a few things that perhaps weren’t exactly as you wanted, it will be easier to do so. However, make sure before you end the conversation that you reiterate how much you appreciate the job that was done.
If you are reading this and are not a manager, please don’t think it doesn’t apply. Specific appreciation to co-workers makes for better team work. And specific appreciation to your boss will go a long way toward having a good working relationship. You cannot expect your boss to appreciate you, if you don’t appreciate her. The Law of Attraction says, “You attract more of what you focus on,” and ensures that you can only attract appreciation if you’re focused on it yourself!
So be specific.

To the receptionist: ”Jane, I’m always so impressed that you answer each phone call within two rings.”

To the PC Technician: “Rick, you saved me last week when you found that virus on my computer before it damaged anything!”

To the Project Leader: “I really like that you included everyone in the discussion about solutions to solve the problem that arose. I know it would have been quicker to come up with the solution yourself, but this helped the team’s morale.”

To your boss: “Thank you for giving me this award in private. It was sensitive of you to understand that a public ceremony would have been embarrassing for me.”
Specifics, specifics, and even more specifics. Watch how quickly that which you specifically focus on, grows!