Showing and receiving appreciation both boost endurance.
While it may be well known* that feeling appreciated can motivate people to work harder, did you know that the simple act of showing appreciation also has its benefits?
It’s true. Whether we are on the giving or receiving end of appreciation, dopamine, the “pleasure and reward” chemical, is released – we feel rewarded and are then willing to go the extra mile; and serotonin, the “well-being, balance, and self belief” chemical, is also released, which makes us feel valued and important.
Choreographer, Wayne McGregor, says, “Thank you” to his dancers after they execute a dance sequence in rehearsal. I interviewed Wayne recently for our book on Physical Intelligence (available September 2018.) and asked him why he thanked them so frequently. He said “if someone is busting a gut doing something you value it seems natural to thank them.”
Yes! If only that spirit was applied more in companies where people today seem to be working harder and harder with fewer and fewer resources. When we ask people to draw deeply on their energy reserves, and sustain effort over a long period, appreciation can be the defining factor between them continuing without complaint, or filing grievances, then quitting.
A genuine ‘thank you’ in appreciation for how people are stretching to accomplish tasks, is like a shot in the arm – thanks to the immediate release of dopamine and serotonin; serotonin has a slower release over a longer period, giving us an enduring sense of status and importance that can last a few days, even weeks. Both chemicals considerably boost mood, performance, and willingness to persevere.
But what if no one is thanking you? What if you have to rely on your own resources? Entrepreneurs, creatives who often work alone, and leaders who carry great responsibility for the success of others and for being the one to show thanks, generally do not often receive thanks. However, even those of us who work in environments where it is easier to show appreciation – those of us surrounded by collaborative teams and helpful colleagues – often still don’t hear those affirmations (i.e., “Great job!”, “Thank you!”, “It was great working with you!”) often enough.
Regardless of what role you are in, when you find yourself running low on appreciation, you need three things:
- A big dose of self-appreciation, acknowledging your sustained effort and naming your daily achievements. (2 minutes a day)
- A fan club of people external to your situation who you know will cheer you on
- A good coach or mentor who can enable you to process events and help you identify where you are being too hard on yourself – make sure you have yours on hand to appreciate you and challenge you when you fail to appreciate yourself.
Remember – you get that dopamine and serotonin boost whether you give or receive appreciation. To get the ball rolling on your team, start showing appreciation and you just might receive it more often. We call that “creating a culture of gratitude” – something you can do on your own team regardless of your role. Make a commitment to show appreciation on a regular basis by celebrating success and highlighting your colleagues’ strengths and its likely that others will start to show appreciation in return.
Best of luck – and thank you for taking the time to read this!
Study by online career site, Glassdoor, revealed that more than 80 percent of employees say they’re motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work, compared to less than 40 percent who are inspired to work harder when their boss is demanding or when they fear losing their job. HBR Why Appreciation Matters So Much https://hbr.org/2012/01/why-appreciation-matters-so-mu
About Companies in Motion
Transforming how organizations learn and engage, Companies in Motion (CIM) supports you and your organisation’s overall performance.
Many organizations are moving away from the traditional Performance Management models to something more innovative and meaningful. In response to this change, Learning and Development teams are implementing Physical Intelligence programs that support performance across the curriculum: leadership, innovation, change management, team building, sales, negotiating, and more.
Contact CIM for more information on how Physical Intelligence can support performance across your company.
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