Becoming a More Positive Influence: Show Appreciation

Ryan Gottfredson

by Ryan Gottfredson

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From your perspective, do you think there is a difference between recognition and appreciation?

Being honest, if you would have asked me this question a few weeks ago, I would have said “kind of.” But, I would have had a hard time nailing down how they differ.

While we may not fully understand the difference between these two things, knowing how they are different can mean the difference between being a weak positive influence and a strong positive influence on those you lead.

According to Mike Robbins, author of Bring Your Whole Self to Work, recognition is “positive feedback based on results or performance.”

Appreciation is so much more than that! It is truly valuing the person you are working with, regardless of results or performance.

We all recognize this difference, right? We have all been in a situation, either as the giver or the receiver, where recognition was given, but appreciation wasn’t.

Further, recognition is not necessary to be appreciated.

In fact, the best way to show someone that they are appreciated is to seek out their thoughts and opinions, to truly listen to them, and to implement their ideas such that they are able to see the positive impact they can make.

Why is Appreciation so Important?

Get this, employees who feel recognized are 23% more effective than those who don’t feel recognized. But, when employees feel appreciated, they are 46% more effective than those who don’t feel appreciated. Further 66% of employees say that they would likely leave their job if they don’t feel appreciated.

Now, I don’t know what percent of employees feel appreciated, but it is my guess that all employees feel they could be more appreciated.

What Prevents us from Showing Appreciation?

The reality is that organizational leaders and managers generally focus on what is measured: performance. I don’t blame them. But, when they focus on performance, they may provide recognition, but they rarely appreciate. Or, appreciation is only extended to those who perform at a certain level.

But, truly effective leaders and managers do something that does not come naturally, something that actually takes a lot of courage. Rather than focus on what is measured (performance), they focus on the drivers of employee performance: the attitudes and feelings of those they lead. They know that they will only get the most out of their employees if their employees feel good and are engaged.

How do we get employees to feel good and be engaged: appreciate them!

Set Intentions for being more Appreciative

So, what does this require of you? It requires you to be courageous. To stop focusing on what is measured and to intentionally start focusing on how your employees are feeling and the experiences they are having.

How You Can Show Greater Appreciation

  • Develop more of an outward mindset (see them as a person instead of as an object)

  • See those you lead as though they are doing their best

  • Get to know them and their demands and successes outside of work

  • Get to know their purpose and goals and find ways to help them accomplish them

  • Give them greater voice

  • Ask for their ideas and opinions

  • Ask for their suggestions on how you can improve their work environment

  • Ask them how you can remove barriers for them

  • Tell them you care about them and their contribution

What else comes to mind? Comment below!


This article is the eleventh article in a series of articles all about helping people and leaders become people of positive influence, people that others want to follow.

Article 1: Why Do Organizations Miss the Mark when Developing their Leaders?

Article 2: Becoming a More Positive Influence: Rewire Your Brain

Article 3: Becoming a More Positive Influence: Develop a Self-Purpose

Article 4: Becoming a More Positive Influence: Know How to Build Trust

Article 5: Becoming a More Positive Influence: Are You the Villain?

Article 6: Becoming a More Positive Influence: Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence

Article 7: Becoming a More Positive Influence: Be Intellectually Humble

Article 8: Becoming a More Positive Influence: Investigate and Improve Your Why

Article 9: Becoming a More Positive Influence: Be Someone Others Want to Follow

Article 10: Becoming a More Positive Influence: Improve the Lenses You Use to See the World


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