Last month I wrote about using your critic more effectively. This month I am looking at the other half of the story: continually growing the habit of appreciating all the helpful things that others do.
It is easy to take for granted the everyday things that people do. We notice the big gestures of course, when someone goes out of their way to be helpful, but we don’t tend to pay attention to the smaller, more routine things that people do. Yet these are the building blocks of relationships, which create the environment for successful teamwork.
On any given day, it is likely that some of the following happen at work:
- Someone does their part of a task and hands it over on time
- Someone makes a cuppa at just the right moment
- Someone lightens the mood when things are tough by making you laugh
- Someone takes a message for you while you’re away from your desk
- Someone has cleaned up the office before you arrive for work
- Someone has made sure the technology is working
- Someone has solved a problem that could have landed up on your desk.
(And of course, there is a long list of things that ‘someone’ does which make it easier for you to be at work; the chores that you don’t have to do, whether that be gong to the supermarket, looking after the kids, or driving the bus or train you catch!)
We forget, sometimes, how reliant we are on other people to make our lives easier; and, of course, you do some of the same things for others as well, so we can justify not always appreciating what others do by saying that it balances out. However, we re missing out in thee big ways when we don’t show appreciation to others.
- Positive appreciation of what others do creates that environment of helpfulness and cooperation, and encourages people to do those helpful things even more. We all like to be appreciated, and respond positively to it.
- Everyone involved gets a boost to the feel-good factor – those you are thanking, and you as you thank them. And this encourages more people to appreciate others more often, continuing to build that useful environment.
- Our lives get even easier! People are more likely to help us out if we appreciate what they do already.
And it doesn’t have to be a grand response: ‘Thank you for..’, ‘It made a difference when you..’, ‘I notice that you…’ Just a simple sentence can make a big difference. Just for one day, notice all the little ways in which others make a positive difference to your life, and say thank you whenever possible. You will be surprised by how much others make your life easier.
Di Kamp, Leadership Director of Meta