Home Blog Leadership On appreciation
04
Dec
2012
On appreciation
Appreciation noun 1. Recognition of the quality, value, significance or magnitude of people and things. 2. A judgment or opinion, especially a favourable one. 3. An expression of gratitude. 4. Awareness of delicate perception, especially of aesthetic qualities or values. 5. A rise in value or price, especially over time.

 “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ~ Voltaire

“When you meet people, show real appreciation, then genuine curiosity.” ~ Martha Beck 

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” ~ Dalai Lama


 
It's the time of year to offer gifts. 
 
The best possible gift, in my view, is to demonstrate your appreciation.  You can do that at any time of year.  And it costs absolutely nothing...
 
On 21 November, the day before the US celebration of Thanksgiving, while visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge with a friend, I got talking to a lady (Janet, I later found out) in the wonderful Calligraphy Today exhibition.

She overheard me enquiring whether there were postcards of the beautiful exhibits. She told us about the catalogue, showed us where to find it and asked whether we were aware of a talk there by the creator of the collection, which was about to start. When I asked if she worked at the Fitzwilliam, Janet said no, she was unemployed, and as she had lots of time had become an expert on free events in and around Cambridge.

She had been so helpful that I asked whether she was looking for work and when she said yes, I offered her to give her a couple of hours of my time. I gave her my business card and as soon as Janet saw my name she said ‘I know you. We used to work for the same organisation. I remember that you wrote a letter of thanks to my boss after I did a piece of work for you. In fact I still have it at home’.

I was bowled over.

I asked her name and remembered the incident. I had wanted to get some urgent printing done just before the office closed. Normally the response was ‘it’ll have to wait until tomorrow’. But Janet overheard my request to her boss and offered to stay late to get the job done. She went the extra mile. And I wanted to acknowledge that.

The amazing thing is that I left the organisation we both worked for over 10 years ago. And yet Janet remembered that appreciation as if it were yesterday.

Which just goes to prove this quote from Maya Angelou: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

A thank you can go a long way. It’s so easy to let people’s efforts go unacknowledged, particularly in the workplace where it seems more commonplace to point out to people where they are going wrong.

If you’d like to be different, these suggestions for demonstrating appreciation in a work context are a good place to start.

 

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