The Power of Appreciation

By Tina Noe, IPLI Mentor, Danville Community Schools

It is often said that a person who feels appreciated will often do more than is expected.   According to Psychology Today, “research on employee engagement examines the relationships among motivation, money, and recognition, and finds, not entirely surprisingly, that how you feel is often more important than what you earn.” In the world of education, most teachers and administrators did not get into this profession because of the money.  They did it to make a difference.  Since it is not a field where we can increase compensation for being a valuable employee, then at the very minimum, we should ensure those we lead know they are appreciated for all that they contribute to our school and our students. 

Here are some simple strategies for showing gratitude:

  • Give someone a call
    • Pick up the phone and call someone who deserves a pat on the back.  The reasons don’t have to be for a significant event.  When the small and sometimes typical routines get noticed, it can keep people going.
  • Write a gratitude letter or note
    • Little notes of appreciation often become prized possessions that you will see posted around someone’s desk.  Take a second and write 2-3 quick letters daily or weekly.
  • Stop in and chat
    • Give someone your time and share your gratitude face to face.  Taking a minute for a genuine moment can make a big difference
  • Send a message to a staff member’s spouse.
    • Reach out and let a spouse or significant other know that their wife/husband is pretty awesome. 
  • Give a small token of appreciation
    • Drop off a treat, homemade baked goods, or a small gift to show you thought of them, and take the time to shop or bake something especially for them.

Josh Bersin from Forbes Magazine states, “the results are astounding: organizations that give regular thanks to their employees far outperform those that don’t.” I know that from personal experience when I receive praise or recognition from my boss, it gives me the lift I need to get me through just about anything.  I can live off the compliment for months.  As a leader, I want to be certain to give my staff that same “lift.”