“We often use the words “recognition” and “appreciation” interchangeably, but there’s a big difference between them. The former is about giving positive feedback based on results or performance. The latter, on the other hand, is about acknowledging a person’s inherent value.”

(source:  HBR.org 2019)

We all know how hard giving and receiving criticism can be. However, giving and receiving appreciation is not much better for many leaders.  And yet this is so critical for humans.  There are numerous studies with different focuses on relationships – what will make a successful relationship  – what allows our brains to better process feedback – etc.  The results vary but what is consistent is that the ratio is anywhere from 3-7 positives (appreciations/recognition) to 1 negative (criticism).  Humans need more healthy positive moments.  Imagine that!  Think through your day, where are you personally falling?  Where is your team at?

Now I’ve written in the past about the Gratitude Formula of giving appreciation. Today, I want to give some ideas/examples of various ways you can give appreciation.  Now there are plenty of articles and blogs that give lists.  So I am really highlighting the ones that I frequently do.

  • Little messages (text, call, email, etc) – remember be specific, highlight the feeling/impact
  • Personalized written notes (cards, letters, etc) – this is different as some people keep/display a card for extended periods of time
  • Small financial gifts, such as a gift card.  This is my least favorite as it seems more impersonal.  But note, the amount doesn’t have to be big to have an impact.  Some people are super happy to have coffee run covered.
  • Small relevant tokens (personalized certificate, small gift such as a table decor, etc).  This shows the person that you put in extra time to think what might be appreciated beyond words.
  • Crazy unique token gift.  There is some seriously awesome inexpensive gifts out there.  I shopped often at think geek.com. Now I also learned things that I wish I didn’t know – you can purchase a single 5lb gummy bear.  Just gross.  The one that I ended up loving the most was the Hug-E-Gram, which I’m not even sure they stick make anymore.

Here’s the thing, when you put a little more effort into the appreciation with some physical element, the person feels appreciated.  And there is the residual benefit:  there are days that I’m struggling.  Then I notice one of the gifts on my desk (maybe even given a year ago) and I’m instantly feeling that moment and remembering my value.  We all need that at times.

How can you appreciate someone today?




Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick is a leadership and organizational advisor. Her transformational leadership at all levels of an organization, ignites growth of leaders and high performing teams to deliver quality outcomes. Tricia has more than twenty years of experience in the software development industry. She is a highly-rated trainer, coach, facilitator and motivational keynote speaker. Beyond her extensive knowledge and skills, her biggest offering is inspiring people to believe anything is possible.

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