I have been blessed to work with a tremendous number of talented people throughout my YKK career. I have been supported in every way imaginable, so as I sat down and started to think about how I have meaningfully communicated my appreciation – I felt inadequate. How do I explain it to others, when many times I fail at doing it myself?
It’s a concept that is easy to gloss over and believe we have communicated. Yes, I say thank you, but maybe that just means I’m polite – my mother and father taught me well.
In the work environment, I think most of us try addressing appreciation with group communications – a heartfelt letter, or an in-person address to the group telling them their work is appreciated. Maybe even a congratulatory meal. I’ve organized and participated in them all and felt as if I had done my job, communicated my message, and won the hearts and minds of all those who were there. I’m not saying this model is wrong, sometimes it’s the best fit for the situation and conveyance of our message, but is it truly meaningful?
Appreciation is different things to different people. I have known people who thrive on public recognition – love to have their name mentioned and their contributions detailed to large groups. I have also known people who don’t want their names mentioned, pictures taken, or accomplishments revealed. Then, there are the people who live somewhere in the middle – they appreciate some acknowledgement, but not to the point of public praise. What I have come to realize is that there is not a “one size fits all” solution.
So, how can I provide meaningful appreciation when there are so many different types of individuals? After taking some time to consider the possibilities, I have come to believe that meaningful appreciation is not a one-time event. I feel that it’s the culmination of multiple interactions over time. For me, it’s taking time to get to know people on a personal level, trying to understand that differences exist, meeting each person where they are, and having one-on-one conversations allows me begin to create a foundation to a relationship where all appreciation can be meaningful. Then, if I can slow down and make a little time each day to let one or two people know that they are appreciated, it can make a difference. I’m still a work in progress.
Senior Director – Manufacturing Macon
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.
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