Seven Ways to Practice Uncommon Appreciation


One of the biggest complaints most employees have about their employers is that they do not feel appreciated. Indeed, a recent management study revealed that 46% of employees that leave a company do so because they felt unappreciated. The same study found 61% of employees said their bosses didn’t place much importance on appreciation and 88% said they didn’t receive any acknowledgment for the work they did. That’s a lot of unsatisfied people, and it’s unfortunate because showing appreciation is actually relatively easy. It also benefits both the person receiving the appreciation and the person showing appreciation.

If showing appreciation is relatively easy to do, why don’t more people do it? Because there is an apparent disconnect regarding the value of appreciation. When employees are given a list of 10 possible things that would motivate them most, they always rank appreciation as the number one motivator. When managers and supervisors are asked to rank-order the same list, however, they rank appreciation eighth. That’s a problem.

Failing to show appreciation is not just a problem in the workplace, it can also be a huge problem in personal relationships. People report that not feeling appreciated in their personal relationships leads to resentment, jealousy, poor communication, unrealistic expectations, stubbornness and a lack of affection.   Each of these individually can cause a relationship to sour. A combination of all of them is almost certain to end a relationship.

Now that we’re aware of the problem, how can we fix it?

There are three fundamental types of appreciation: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Since one of the primary goals of showing appreciation is to make the receiver feels cared about, it’s important for the giver to understand the best way to show appreciation.

Auditory people want to hear that you appreciate them. Visual people like to see things that show appreciation. Examples of this might be cards, certificates or letters. Kinesthetic people like to feel appreciation, so things like hugs, handshakes, and high-fives do the job for them.

Giving an auditory person a card, hugging a visual person, or saying something appreciative to kinesthetic person will likely miss the mark.

Use Love Languages to Show Appreciation

Relationship counselor and author of the Five Love Languages Gary Chapman offers even deeper ways to show appreciation. Words of affirmation are a great way to express your appreciation to someone that feels most cared for when you tell them how wonderful they are and how much you appreciate them.

Spend Quality Time With the People You Appreciate.

 Some people feel most cared for when you spend quality time with them. They appreciate you being fully present and engaged when you interact with them, no matter how trivial the interaction may be. In today’s world of never-ending distractions, this can be a big one in both personal and professional relationships when it can be so easy to allow your attention to be drawn away from the person in front of you. Staying focused on the person you are with at the moment is a wonderful way to show a person that appreciates quality time that you truly appreciate them.

The Best Way to Show Appreciation to Some People is by Giving Them Gifts

If someone’s primary love language is receiving gifts, then the best way to show them your appreciation is by giving them a gift. The interesting thing here is in most cases the gift need not be extravagant or expensive. Instead, it can something as simple as a bottle of wine or a gift card to their favorite restaurant. The key is showing them they are appreciated in a way that resonates most with them.

Some People Like Acts of Service as a Way to Show Your Appreciation

Many people feel most appreciated when you do something for them. Again, the act of service does not need to monumental. It could be something as simple as volunteering to help them with a project, washing the dishes or watching the kids while they do something else. The focus is on doing something to show your appreciation that will ring the bell for the person to whom you want to appreciate and acknowledge.

Sometimes the Best Way to Show Appreciation is With a Physical Touch

 Showing appreciation with this love language means doing exactly what it sounds like. Touching another person in a kind and caring way like a warm hug, kiss, handshake or pat on the back can be exactly what a person needs to feel greatly appreciated.

This method comes with what by now should be an obvious warning: in a professional environment, make sure that your physical touch is appropriate. Even with that warning, however, there are still several ways you can show people that prefer physical touches you appreciate them.   A firm handshake while looking in their eyes is a great way to show appreciation and so is an enthusiastic high-five, especially when well timed to show appreciation in front of the receiver’s peers.

A key thing to remember is your love language may not be the same as that of the person you want to appreciate. So just like we discussed above, it’s important to make sure you use the method that will resonate best with the person you want to appreciate.

Here are a few more pro tips for showing uncommon appreciation. Observe the person you want to appreciate and how they behave around others. This will give you insights into their love language. Most people speak in their own love language when they interact with others, so when you observe their interactions you can pick up clues.

You can also listen to what they most often complain about. Again, there are great clues contained in what they complain about. Finally, pay attention to their requests. People will often reveal their love languages through subtle hints like: “will you bring me a surprise back from your trip?”

Now go put these tips to work. You may be surprised how much power a few simple showings of appreciation make a huge positive impact.


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