All of us know and feel that we spend the majority of our lifetime at work. Our colleagues and our boss are the people we see longer and more often than our families and our partners. However, only few people usually state that they like going to work and that they enjoy their time there.
Why do we not create a more pleasant time at work? Why do we buy expensive recreation in our spare time? Why are Spas so crowded at the weekends, and why do we go on holiday not only once but many times a year, preferably each month?
Most people reply that they are stressed out and need a rest. Work-life balance has become a buzzword, and burnout is something that you have to have at least once in life.
Companies are very creative when it comes to motivating and retaining their staff. They throw parties, organise excursions, found committees and raise salaries. Innovative firms even create positions such as the one of a Wellness Manager whose only job it is to take care of the well being of the employees. All those things play an important role in turning the company into a sought-after employer. However, they all cost money. And this is, not only during crises, mostly short.
A cheaper solution
There is, actually, a free and very effective alternative called: praising. It has been discovered that praise is extremely healthy. Scientifically it works like this: A reasonable compliment tightens our shoulders, and the fore-brain produces the euphorigenic messenger Dopamin. The result: we feel great and are happy with our life. In addition, the dedication to the job and the motivation of complimented people boost for months because the messenger imprints this taste of success into the long-term memory.
The absence of appreciation, on the contrary, leaves people frustrated and they lose their self-confidence. In addition, the risk of contracting depression or cardiovascular disease is soaring. At work, the non-appreciated employees are more likely to resign, as they very often do not identify with the company (anymore). In particular, idealistic associates who take their job seriously and do it nearly with the dedication of an entrepreneur are affected. The amount of work and energy which they invest simply does not correspond with the return.
How can we all remain healthy and save the money for relaxation measures? How can a company decrease incidence rate, staff turnover and cost?
The following suggestions do not need a brainstorming, neither the completion of forms including getting them signed by three people nor a budget request. You can implement them yourself, without hesitation, meaning: right now.
Here we go:
- Pay more attention to the people around you and give appreciation and praise to them. Spontaneous compliments (“You look great!“) put an instant smile on the face of the opponent.
- Even a backslapping, a thumbs-up or simple applause show recognition. Paired with a smile and a thank you this can work wonders.
- Respecting the performance and the talents of others is an important qualification to be able to praise. All of us have something that we can do better than others; hence, there is no reason to be jealous if a colleague shines in a meeting. It is your turn next time.
- Only when they are honest and appropriate, yet regularly paid, compliments have the required effect. You do not have to like a colleague‘s tie every day. Yet on days when it matches his outfit and personality extremely well, you may say so.
- It is very important to give positive feedback to colleagues and employees, even when “they are just doing their job“. A continuously high quality of work deserves recognition since this is not something that can be taken for granted.
- If you do not get appreciation at work, it is advisable to ask your boss e.g. how s/he liked the presentation or how happy s/he is with the team results. Even though s/he might criticise, at least you know where you can improve. Good leaders will always find some good words along with negative feedback. So don’t be afraid.
- A praise is very valuable when it is done in front of others, for instance in a meeting or during staff events. Often, some more appreciation follows which gives the compliment genuineness and increases the effect. Just think of the standing ovations that artists usually savour and, since they are motivated, perform the requested encores with pleasure and delight.
- Praise does not value higher just because it comes from above. The trainee can compliment the boss, the department head the director and colleagues can compliment one another. Managers do need appreciation as well if we want them to remain healthy and motivated.
- A small gift within a reasonable limit is acceptable. However, the gesture is more important than the value. Expensive gifts could be regarded as a way to “buy“ the other person.
- Concentrating on your strengths has proven to be of value in order to obtain praise. Voluntary work or sporting activities can also be supportive for your personal happiness and mental balance as rewards are instant.
Do not be afraid to savour praise and if it does not come from others, you may compliment yourself – in private if you would like to avoid weird looks!
Share your view:
What was the most memorable compliment you ever got at work? How do you feel when getting praised? Is it easier for you to tell someone something bad or something good (at work)? How do your team-mates react when you celebrate them?
Image: fotolia.com. All Rights Reserved.
About the author: Gaby Feile has been fascinated by words since the age of five. With her company Kommboutique she delivers feel-good communication that creates memorable moments and attracts people using magnetic words. Get to know Gaby.
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