Appreciation is Energizing

Much good work goes unrecognized. People make fine contributions that no one acknowledges. Perhaps the work is so subtle it defies notice but perhaps the work falls on deaf ears: others notice but they do not move themselves to comment or appreciate.

When attending a music festival this week I witness a culture that believes in appreciation. When people perform well as musicians or teachers, they are literally applauded. People clap their hands. Last evening in the course of the evening session, one of the group would play a brief solo, receive applause, and then the group would play a few more tunes together.

Recognition is energizing. Low levels of reward and recognition are among the six areas of worklife that make a major difference in whether people experience engagement or burnout. Some groups show a culture of appreciation: people attend to one another’s contributions and make a point of commenting. Other workgroups

Receiving applause is not without its costs. For others to appreciate your work you need to make it visible. Being open to praise means to be open to scrutiny. The musician who plays a tune for a group of fellow musicians has an audience with a refined sense of quality. When working in a climate of appreciation, it is important to do your best work.

Taking Action:

Make a point of complementing colleagues this week. Keep a tally of the number of times you say something that acknowledges and celebrates a contribution. You may spark a movement.

Exhaustion with Reward

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