As we learned in the last post, Alison Armstrong has spent much of her working life identifying what makes men and women tick and has identified what she calls ‘The Appreciation Equation’ to help us understand how critical the giving and receiving of appreciation is in both our business and personal relationships.
This week I want to further elaborate on the different ways in which people like to receive appreciation.
Appreciation has a number of different ‘currencies’ as Alison calls them:
Money – cold hard cash, vouchers, pay increases and so on…
Gratitude – thank you’s or ‘Employee of the Month’ nominations
Gifts – personal gestures like flowers or movie tickets
Actions – returned favours of work or acts of service that are meaningful to that person
Referrals – including business connections or word of mouth recommendations.
It is important to understand that some currencies may have more value to individuals than others and some situations may need more than one type of currency. Some people may have difficulty receiving appreciation because it isn’t in the currency they prefer and some may not receive any form of appreciation because it suits them to live in the negative state.
For example, someone who may prefer private thank you’s may be adversely affected by a public announcement about something great that they have done. Someone who likes ‘acts of service’ or ‘gifts’ may be offended by being offered cash. Using the wrong ‘currency’ can result in turning a positive ‘equation’ result into a negative one very quickly so it is important to get a feel for what fills the appreciation fuel tank for each of the key people in our lives.
In terms of our own fuel tanks, understanding where we spend a large amount of our energy is a great place to start to explore how we prefer to receive appreciation. Explore your own needs and take some time to answer these questions:
What do you do for people that we feel isn’t appreciated enough?
How would you like to be appreciated for these tasks?
Where do you feel you are losing out while you keep giving?
Many of these situations may be different depending on each individual relationship and each situation. For example, a mother may willingly wash clothes for a baby and expect no appreciation but require appreciation from her 20 year old son for doing the same thing. Each relationship and task must be assessed individually and you are the only one who can determine what you need from each person and situation to fill your appreciation tank.
Many things we do may seem trivial and we may dismiss our need for appreciation but most of life is trivial so all of these things matter – they all add up.
We have to think about how much it takes for us to do the task no matter how small it may seem. How much time, money, effort, adaptation, accommodation does it take for us to do these things for others? Some things we do are automatic so we forget to think about what it takes from us and how much it affects us to do these things. Continuing to give without feeling appreciated will only build resentment and make it less palatable for us to continue to do what we do for others.
So take some time out today to consider what ‘enough appreciation’ would look like for you?
And then ask the people you care about the same thing…. you might be surprised by their responses!
Until next time…