Learning to Give and Accept Appreciation | Commitments of Conscious Leadership #7
Avoiding a sense of entitlement and creating instead a genuine sense of mutual appreciation at your firm will not only benefit each member of your team, but the firm itself.
When people become more attached to the outcome, they move into a feeling that they deserve or are entitled to a certain outcome. In previous articles related to Conscious Leadership, the “To Me” attitude has been discussed, where the victim, villain and hero roles appear and you are in “at the effect of” mode. This is not a conscious leadership position. A sense of entitlement is a “To Me” attitude and not only is it not healthy for you as the leader of your firm, it is also not healthy for members of your team.
The Conscious Leadership Group, CLG, defines appreciation as having two parts –sensitive awareness and an increase in value. Sensitive awareness involves paying attention, but with what they call a “fine-tuned awareness”. In other words you combine the enjoyment of wandering through an art museum with the curiosity of fresh eyes to go beyond appreciation of the art to noticing the subtle combinations of colors, or the effects of the artist’s brushstrokes. An increase in value relates to the fact that the willingness to make the commitment to generate appreciation is focused on having their relations, circumstances and experiences become more valuable.
In order to truly live in appreciation, you need to be open to fully receive appreciation as well as to fully give appreciation. Many people have trouble receiving appreciation for a variety of reasons. It may be the inner critic, the redirection to someone else, the “but it wasn’t perfect” response, the dismissal statement of “it was nothing special”, or the reciprocation response where you try to show that you appreciate them even more. Step back and remind yourself that receiving is a gift and when you refuse someone’s gift of appreciation you have robbed them of the opportunity to give you that gift.
Fully giving appreciation is something else that often requires switching your focus. Rather than focusing on things that people need to change or improve, instead start observing people to capture them doing something positive. Constructive feedback is important but research shows that a ratio of approximately five appreciations for one criticism is the ideal ratio for strong relationships. Try this ratio with your team and observe the results.
CLG goes on to suggest that there are four elements that must be included for masterful appreciation. Appreciation must be sincere. It must be the unarguable truth – not just that they did a great job, but why you feel it was a great job. Be specific in your appreciation. And last, use succinct language – as they advise “everything you can say in one exhale”.
With appreciation we are able to recognize the unique gifts of others and ourselves. Conscious leaders are committed to becoming masters at both giving and receiving appreciation and this includes showing gratitude even in challenging times.