Monday Mornings with Madison

Appreciation: A Management Superpower, Part 2

Word Count: 1,574
Estimated Read Time: 6 Min.

Most managers think they know how to express appreciation to colleagues and direct reports.  And yet a recent employee survey indicates that 44% of workers had not had their manager express appreciation for their work EVER.  So either nearly half of all workers don’t deserve appreciation, or managers actually don’t know how to express appreciation in a way that is received and understood.

Part of the problem is that too many managers think a mere ‘thank you’ qualifies as appreciation.  But it is more than that.  Appreciation is an exchange between colleagues that connects great work with organizational purpose.  It is a powerful tool in which the person feels acknowledged and valued for the work they do and for the talents they possess.  It’s not just “what have you done for me lately”, but also “what do you bring to the table that is valuable to the organization.”  An employee that is with a company for more than six months should be someone the company values enough to deserve appreciation.

There are several key elements for appreciation to be received and understood:

  • frequency of the appreciation expressed,
  • sincerity and meaningfulness of the appreciation,
  • equitable expression of appreciation for everyone deserving,
  • consistent appreciation of high performers, and
  • leadership acknowledgment.

Finding the Right Words to Express Appreciation

The problem is that not every manager may feel comfortable finding ways to express gratitude to a direct report or coworker.   In fact, it is that very discomfort which may cause a manager not to express appreciation on a regular basis or ever.  But, given the impact words of appreciation have on retention, creativity, and productivity, it is essential to overcome that reluctance.

To facilitate the process, here are some messages that can be tailored and personalized for those who just aren’t sure what qualifies as an appropriate way to express appreciation.  This long list of comments can be used and reused, as needed.   The idea is to learn this lexicon of affirmations so that it becomes a regular part of communication, especially with direct reports.

These work great if writing a note to leave on the person’s desk, sending a text message, or typing an email.  But, if this is being expressed verbally, face-to-face, these comments need to be modified a bit to sound more natural.   For example, it’s fine to write:  “Your dedication has contributed to our success.  You inspire us all.”  But if saying this to someone verbally, it might sound more natural to say “I want you to know your dedication contributed to our success.  You really do inspire!”

32 Sample Messages of Appreciation

Here are a whole month’s worth of sample messages of appreciation that can be shared.  This ensures every manager is able to express appreciation consistently, equitably and frequently.  Even though the words are provided here, the key is that they are expressed to others with genuine sincerity.

  1. The ideas you shared and opportunities you seized are a big part of our success.  So grateful for your efforts!
  2. It is dedication like yours that has driven our company’s growth.  Thank you for all that you do.
  3. Your willingness to work late and long hours has not gone unnoticed.  Thanks for going above and beyond.
  4. Good employees inspire others, including the boss.  You’ve been my inspiration.
  5. An employee’s hard work and positive attitude serve as fertilizer for a company’s growth and upbeat culture.  Thanks for making ours blossom!
  6. A great employee isn’t necessarily the one working the longest hours. It’s the one who is committed and owns their work.  Your work ethic says “great employee”!
  7. A deep attention to detail is a talent not many possess.  Yours is unique.  Thanks for being meticulous with your work.
  8. Your work has always made a meaningful contribution to our success. We value you and appreciate all you do.
  9. You probably didn’t think anyone was really watching when you spent extra time and effort getting the work done “right.”  Well I was.  Thanks for what you did and what you do.  It is noted and appreciated.
  10. The service you provided exceeded all expectations. I would also like to add how much you mean to our company. Thank you, and keep up with the good work.
  11. Your willingness to support our goals and vision is deeply appreciated.  This teamwork will be the key to our long-term success.
  12. It’s been a while since I took the time to tell you how much we value you and your work.  You are a key member of our team.  Thank you.
  13. I have been busy lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t noticed your excellent work.  So if I’ve been remiss in saying it recently, let me just say now that we appreciate all that you do!
  14. Who says the work ethic is disappearing.  Your hard work is admirable, and high valued by me and the company.
  15. It’s the ingenuity, dedication and effort from employees like you that turns a company’s vision into a success.  I value your work beyond what words can express.
  16. I just want to take a minute to say “wow.”  Your dedication and top notch skills have left everyone in the company amazed.  The only word that comes to mind is “invaluable.”  Thanks!
  17. The caliber of the work you do is commendable.  That’s what makes you someone we not only like and care about, but someone vital to our mission and vision.
  18. If I tried to praise you for everything you have done and do for the company, I would run out of words.  I will say this:  you are a treasured and esteemed member of our team.  Thank you.
  19. I’m not sure if it is luck or a blessing, but I’m fortunate to have someone like you on my team.  I hope I can help you grow and do work that is meaningful to you.
  20. Words cannot do justice to express how much we appreciate your great work.   But I want you to know you have my support any time you need it.
  21. No one is perfect, but you come really close!  You are the kind of employee every manager wants on their team.
  22. Your meticulous and diligent approach toward every task has raised the bar for the rest of the team.  Thanks for elevating our whole team’s standards.
  23. Managers rely on hard-working, dedicated employees.  We rely on you. Thanks for always bringing your A game every day.
  24. Every day, you are a source of positivity and quality in the office.  And you are growing so much.  Keep progressing and keep up the great work!
  25. Every single day, you inspire us all with your work and your attitude.  Well done.
  26. Thanks for being a great addition to the team. Your high-quality work is a real boon!
  27. You are the star of our team.  You shine bright and spread warmth every single day.
  28. Thank you for standing with us during all the ups and downs for the past year.  We are so fortunate to have you on our team.
  29. An individual who prioritizes the team before self deserves our sincere appreciation.  And you are one such individual. Thank you for everything!
  30. Colleagues at work can make the day feel less stressful and make the each day a little more fun even as the work gets done.  Thank you for being one of those people!
  31. Not everyone steps up when the team needs them, but you always do.  You have earned our respect for being there whenever we’ve needed you.
  32. All the grains of sand on all of the beaches would only make up a pinch of all the cheer, kindness and positivity you’ve shared with everyone over the years.  Thanks for setting the tone and making this a great place to work for us all.

Does Appreciation Ruin Employees?

For managers who worry that sharing too much praise and appreciation will make employees more likely to ask for a raise, promotion or seat at the table, consider this.  Employees who are doing a great job – but who aren’t receiving any appreciation — will likely leave.  They will go where they can get a raise and appreciation.  That means some other company will benefit from that person’s time and talents, while your company will need to spend time recruiting, onboarding and training someone to new… who may or may not fit in and be able to do the job.  Depending on the position, that can be significantly more costly than the raise and praise.  And often the praise will mean that an employee will accept slightly less compensation because they like their boss and coworkers.  So appreciation might actually have the opposite effect of reducing what happy employees will expect and accept in the way of salary and benefits.

And for those who worry that expressing appreciation will make an employee’s head swell and make them rest on their laurels, think again.  Great employees who feel appreciated are likely to work harder and do more to remain in their boss’ esteem.  And any who start to slack might actually start to strive again if they want to be deserving of the appreciation expressed.  So don’t be stingy with the praise.  Express appreciation fairly, frequently, and frankly.  More often than not, it will produce better work and happier workers.

Quote of the Week

“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” Margaret Cousins



© 2021, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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