If you notice something good—say something. If someone is making progress toward a goal, thank them. Encourage them. Reinforce their progress. That’s the best reward of all.

In his book, The One Minute Manager Builds High Performing Teams, Dr. Ken Blanchard said “we find it so easy to catch each other doing something wrong. Why don’t we catch each other doing something right?” However, the ability and willingness to express appreciation is not always the norm. In fact, there are those who believe that if you don’t say something to a co-worker or employee, they will automatically think they are doing things right. Well, that’s not actually true. People do not always know if they are doing things well or if their performance is pleasing you. I have had some employers actually say, “Well, if I don’t tell her she’s doing something wrong, she must know she is doing things right.” Psychologically, no reinforcement is perceived as negative reinforcement. Not saying anything at all is not effective—and can be counterproductive.

People can express appreciation in many ways. And it does not have to be money. It can be money, but doesn’t have to be. In fact, other ways of showing appreciation can be more beneficial. Let’s look at a few of the thousands of ways to express appreciation. You will have your own ways. That’s great. Get in the HABIT—and I mean HABIT of expressing appreciation.

  1. Say So. Say “thanks”.
  2. A written note of appreciation.
  3. Send an email, a text of gratitude.
  4. Give someone a gift certificate, a lunch, or a present when appropriate.
  5. Positive Feedback.
  6. Express sincere appreciation for the specific thing for which you are grateful.

Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.