Which of These 5 Languages of Appreciation Do You Show Your Team? Part 2
The second language of appreciation is Quality Time. The best example of this is a quality conversation.
People that have Quality Time as their dominant Language of Appreciation like to know that their thoughts and ideas are valued.
A short conversation about their hobby or family can be very satisfying to this person.
They might feel appreciated when you ask them for feedback on what kinds of things they might suggest improving for your company.
But the questions are not the magic.
The attentive listening is the magic.
This does not have to be a 5 course sit down meal.
A few minutes on a job site, an occasional coffee or lunch will be very satisfying to this person.
I think that the folks that are at the bottom rung of your teams may be prime candidates for appreciation through quality time.
I know that I can be very guilty of what I call a fly by.
This is where you swoop onto a job site.
You connect with the customer and foreman and ignore or nearly ignore everyone else.
Is this because you are rude or don’t care?
No. Its because you are on a schedule and focused on your day and tasks at hand.
Put on a different pair of glasses and look for opportunities to connect with these junior employees.
Find out a little about their progress as an employee.
Find out their interests and appreciate them even though they are not yet a rock star.
They might become Rock Stars if you nurture them and appreciate them.
Additional ways Appreciation through Quality Time can be expressed are in small groups.
This may be a foreman meeting or an advisory team.
In fact, creating an advisory team amongst your team is a great way for them to feel appreciated while getting them to come up with solutions to challenges and solving them internally themselves.
This gets them to buy into the solutions since they created them as well as makes them feel appreciated.
A double win. Some might enjoy company outings.
A simple after work barbeque or a sporting event.
They do not have to often but they need to be regular.
Everyone hates the big company outing that never happens a second time. Even if it is quarterly, a regular event can make a difference.
These events can be excellent time away from the company to appreciate and bond with your team.
The next Language of Appreciation is acts of Service.
This is when you jump in and assist when someone is overwhelmed or in the weeds.
This person will appreciate it when you jump in and help.
It is a don’t tell me you care. Show me you care. A couple of pointers here.
Ask before you jump in. Make sure it is not detrimental to your responsibilities.
And do the task their way. And finally, you need to be careful you are not rescuing or enabling a bad habit by bailing someone out.
I struggled to find many examples of the best way to express this appreciation in a painting business by an owner.
This isn’t to say there are some. I do see it as valuable information to teach to your field leaders.
It would be very beneficial for a foreman to jump in and help a junior worker.
This would provide hands-on training as well as communicate that ego is not part of your culture.
The highest ranking employee can serve a junior employee.
The third language is tangible gifts. Dr. Chapman states that giving the right gift to a person who appreciates tangible gifts can send a powerful message of appreciation and encouragement.
Giving a tangible gift to someone that does not have tangible gifts as their language of appreciation will have little impact.
I think gifts can range from the small and simple to the more extravagant and costly.
A simple gift, in my opinion, is bringing coffee and donuts to your team during a morning visit.
Or lunch or Gatorade during a hot exterior. I think everyone enjoys the thought of receiving something unexpected and secondly, who doesn’t like something they don’t have to pay for?
This simple task takes more effort than money. You have to stop and get the items.
Plan your visit to coincide with break or lunch. I think this small gesture on a regular basis goes a long way towards showing appreciation to your team.
Another great way to show appreciation as a gift is to give tools that the employee needs and is required to supply themselves.
This could be an actual tool or a gift card to a store like Home Depot or Lowes. I also think larger gifts can have a big impact on our companies and in our culture.
Look for ways to give experiences that they most likely never get to participate in your employees.
This can be sporting events. A play or concert.
Or a generous gift card to an upscale restaurant that they most likely would never spend their own money on.
Make it more than enough for all the extravagant courses like an appetizer and dessert.
Don’t give them $25 to a steakhouse that is going to cost them $150. Give them $200 so they have more than enough to live extravagantly for one night.
They will feel appreciated. Maybe a weekend away to a bed and breakfast for the right key employee.
Again. This is an experience that they most likely would not spend resources on but would enjoy it very much if you gave it to them.
A company I worked at was very intentional in this regard.
We shared season tickets for the Chicago Bulls with two other companies.
These tickets were only available to our painters.
We also purchased great season tickets to the Chicago Fire, the local MLS soccer team that also was for our painters.
These were both examples of experiences that the employees did not have access to so it was a real treat when they got to go.
I also recommend passing on gifts you get from vendors.
We are always getting something from vendors. Shirts, jackets, sporting events, paint brushes.
Pass this stuff onto your employees.
This costs you nothing but feels like a gift to these folks. I have a personal confession to make.
Giving gifts is very hard for me. Why? Because this Appreciation language is dead last for me personally.
In fact, if there was a less than zero score on the Appreciation assessment, I would score less than zero.
Everything I need in life I have or can get for myself so a gift is pretty much wasted on me.
I would rather give you a $20 bill and have you get your own coffee and donuts for you and the crew.
I have no issue paying but I really don’t want to put the thought and time into it.
If this is you, this is an area where you can develop a simple habit and make a difference.
Put it on your to-do list to take your crew coffee or buy them a tool. And not a one-off. Do it regularly.
Again, often and regular are not the same thing. To frequently I believe diminishes the impact.
The last Language of Appreciation is Physical Touch and it for obvious reasons has been omitted from the assessment and is not recommended as one of the Languages of Appreciation in the workplace.
This is one area where I think we might break from the traditional business.
In a group I was leading, one of the members felt like this was an important part of the way her business partner and husband related to their team.
Think about taking being able to give a big bear hug away from an Italian! Forget about it!
Handshakes, high 5’s, pat on the back. These all can play a role in your teams where and if appropriate. You will have to decide.
A few closing thoughts.
All languages of appreciation need t be in the context of a healthy positive relationship.
If you are an explosive ranting jerk of an owner with a short fuse, your expressions of appreciation will not be effective because your dominant behavior sends the dominant message.
You need to fix that and look at your culture before embarking on the appreciation journey.
Secondly, recognize the difference between recognition and appreciation.
Recognition is about behavior and catching them doing something you want and recognizing it.
This is good for the company. Appreciation identifies the performance plus the employee’s value as a person. Appreciation is good for the company and the person.
And lastly, If you are a person that is more inclined to send out a group message appreciating everyone non-specifically, you are missing the boat.
Research shows that appreciation globally to the entire organization is not effective but showing individually appreciation individually will have an impact globally on the organization.
If this seems all a little bit out there in light of what we do in the construction industry, I would encourage you to not be so quick to dismiss this concept.
I have to admit that I feel stretched when I think about applying these concepts regularly to my team.
But just imagine if the research is correct, and I have news for you, it is correct, then the effort you put into finding ways to apply it to your company will be one of the best investments you will make.
If you are interested in the assessment for you and your team, you can purchase an assessment at www.MBAinventory.com.
Currently, less than 9 assessments are $15 each. What would happen if you made this assessment part of your onboarding for new team members so you can show your appreciation in their primary language?
Thanks for listening and as always, if I can serve you in any way, including a free 15-minute strategy call, please email me at Scott@DYBCoach.com