I recently listened to a podcast that discussed the themes of feeling valued versus feeling recognized. Some research was done in the workplace that took an in-depth look at how leaders pay attention to the people that they are responsible for leading. The study showed that recognizing someone for good work they had done definitely had a positive impact on the person, but that this impact was short-lived. The study indicated that there was a roughly 23% increase in productivity over the short term after a person had been recognized for a job well done but levels of productivity steadily declined over time.
However, leaders who consistently made people genuinely feel valued and appreciated in the workplace had much more of a long term impact on levels of productivity. Some studies had shown a 50% increase in productivity over the long term. Studies of the brain also showed that both the giver and receiver of acts of appreciation had increased levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This chemical is what helps to regulate mood and social behavior. There is a direct link between low levels of serotonin and depression and other mood disorders.
Showing others that they matter and that they are valued is not only the job of leaders. When was the last time that you let a colleague, family member, friend or even a stranger, such as the clerk at the store who regularly serves you, know that they are appreciated and valued?
It's amazing that the simple act of showing appreciation for others and letting them know that they are genuinely valued can work wonders. Why is it that we have so much difficulty in doing this? What is it that we fear about expressing to others that they really matter and the reason why you think that they matter? Sitting quietly and reflecting is a great form of mindfulness in action. Try taking 5 minutes to sit in solitude and to reflect on the people that you value in your life both personally and professionally. Try to identify why it is that you value them. Make a conscious effort to let this somebody know that you value them either in a written note or better yet, let them know in person.
This random act of kindness can literally make someone's day. I challenge you to do this at least 3 times in the next week. I promise to do the same. Good luck!
Neila Steele & Andy Vasily