“A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.” (Author unknown)
I think it’s a great quote that really sits with Systems Thinking and is worth pondering over.
…and before any managers think “wow, that’s cool, I had better run off and show lots of appreciation to people because then I’ll get better results…and hopefully instantly!”, let’s just put some qualifiers/ caveats around it:
- There isn’t much that is more precious to a human being than feeling that we truly matter, that what we do is valuable and is valued;
- A worldwide study (cited in a 2012 HBR article) found that the single highest driver of engagement is whether workers feel that their managers are genuinely interested in their well-being. Less than 40% of workers felt this way;
- Conversely, the feeling of being devalued* is incredibly toxic;
(* whether from negative comments/actions or, just as bad, neglect through presumption, inaction and a lack of care);
Appreciation has to be authentic! Any/all instruments used to extrinsically motive (e.g. contingent rewards) and judge people (performance appraisals) will seriously harm/ undermine management’s ability to show genuine appreciation.