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Still dozing? Or awake and ready to appreciate? – Part 2 of the blog series: Influencing yourself and others

Anyone who wants to be a good leader is given the clear mandate by research and surveys to bestow appreciation right, left and centre. But what is the reality? More than half of the employees do not feel appreciated by their boss for what they do.[1]

Yet research shows that 81 percent of employees are more motivated to work after praise from the boss. At the same time, employees themselves are real duffers: Only 7 percent of those longing for recognition show their boss appreciation in the course of a day. And only 10 percent give credit to their colleagues.[2]

Hence my appeal to you: Concentrate and learn how to appreciate properly!

What do you need for this? Nothing much, really. Just this: "Stop dozing!"

What exactly is dozing for leaders?

An example: In one seminar, the leaders practiced presence and projecting leadership.  Each was to give a short presentation in front of the other participants. Enter first on stage a smart, very eloquent manager from the class. He, of all people, shuffled gloomily into the middle of the room, hands thrust deep into his trouser pockets, and began mumbling ambiguous phrases. A real downer!

A little friendly praise for the one good sentence at the end, then honest feedback - and that gave him food for thought. One minute later he came back on stage, straight backed, hands in front, gesturing openly and delivering a clear and concise message.

What had happened? Instead of concentrating only on himself and his desire of not actually having to do this, the manager had woken up and shifted his focus to the audience. He had realized that right now and here the listeners needed open gestures and clear words. And so he delivered.

For the first time he had realized that it was about the others and not about him It was about the others, who rightly feel unappreciated by someone with their hands in their pockets mentally already jumping off the stage.

To be there, to be present, to really think of others - that is appreciation. The effect: After his second appreciative appearance, we would have followed this leader without hesitation.

Second example: Year-end meeting. The manager asks how the customer event went? The employee answers: "Great, the participants were very satisfied!" Then the manager: "That's not what I heard. The other team members said that you were often at each others’ throats." Ove and done! No matter what the manager wanted to achieve with her employee, she has already blown the relationship out of the water - no way will the employee be willing to listen now.

Not for a second did the manager really focus on the other side and put herself in the position of how her employee would feel. She was missing the basic appreciation of the other person. As a human being, not merely as a feedback receiving robot.

Is the manager evil? No, she is a dozing. Not fully there. Because she didn't think for even a second what effect her feedback would have. All she had to do was give one small praise for the successful event before asking, "How did it go within the team?" Then the employee could have talked about Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing - or the manager could have led him there and together they could have thought about what he would do differently next time in the team.

Leading while dozing does not work, appreciation while dozing does not work

So, what do you have to do? Be present and consciously prod awake that often lazy brain. First reflect on what the other party needs right now. And then and only then plan how you can bring up what you really want the other to grasp.

What else can you do? Watch „Erin Brockovich“ – where you will find a lot of positive and negative examples for appreciation. If you prefer reading, go for  „The elegance of the hedgehog “ by Muriel Barbery (https://www.europaeditions.com/book/9781933372600/the-elegance-of-the-hedgehog ) A wonderful book about how people can be “unlocked” via appreciation.

And then allow your dozing disappear in the light of appreciation!

[1] www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/here-s-no-1-reason-why-employees-quit-their-jobs-ncna1020031
[2] Stocker, D., Jacobshagen, N., Krings, R., Pfister, I. B., & Semmer, N. K. (2014). Appreciative leadership and employee well-being in everyday working life. German Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(1-2), 73-95