Diluting Appreciation

Mike Kelly has a nice post on diluting the power of appreciation.

 

My experience is that genuine appreciations can transform many situations. A couple of years ago I led a year-long project with a distributed team–no two members were in the same timezone. We had a weekly teleconference. I started every telecon with appreciations (and ended with hopes and wishes, which I’ll talk about some other time). After appreciations–which took about 3 minutes–we got down to business. And everyone knew he/she was valued and that someone had notice his/her contribution in the previous week. And even when we had conflicts, we had that grounding to come back to.

 

This year, we get right down to reviewing action items (I’m not lead this year). To me, it feels brusque, and people seem grumpier and less inclined to give the benefit of the doubt. Same group of people. One small change in meeting protocol.

 

It’s easy to dilute the appreciation by making it more removed, more abstract, and more general, because giving a direct appreciation requires making contact with another person. And making contact can mean vulnerability.

 

Here’s the sorry path to dilution, starting with a direct person-to-person appreciation…

 

Harry, I appreciate you….

 

I appreciate Harry….

 

I want to appreciate Harry…

 

I want to thank Harry….

 

I want to thank Harry and all of you…

 

I want to thank all of you…

 

 

….and ending with meaningless sort of group thank you.