Reverse Appreciation: An Untapped Opportunity
As leaders, we are encouraged to show appreciation for the people around us. Perhaps you are a master at this. And you may have found that this fosters trust, loyalty, creativity and productivity within your teams. Well done!
At the same time, if you are a hard-driving, achievement-oriented leader, it is quite possible that you may have neglected to show appreciation for one individual in particular: yourself.
Why is This Important?
While you may be the leader that honors others with worthy affirmations, it is not uncommon that the people around us do not think to do the same or succeed in doing it in a meaningful way. Achievement-oriented leaders are often on to the next goal and the next goal without much thought about one’s growth and deeper impact. In this case, you may possess an untapped opportunity.
Yes, you may get results and proudly display those in the monthly reports. You may feel at peace when your green dashboard indicator is passed over for the red ones of other business units in need of attention.
All is good, right? That depends on whether those results are repeatable, and progress is still being made toward self-mastery.
An act of reverse appreciation, or said another way, appreciation of self, is most meaningful with specificity. Rather than a simple, ‘job well done’ affirmation, a more meaningful and purposeful affirmation digs deeper. A useful affirmation reflects on the specific characteristic or behavior that produced the result. This requires some self-reflection and likely some feedback to understand what it is about you that enabled each team member to perform as they did. Was it the inspiring pep talks, how you mentored someone, or how you expressed your belief in another? What was it for you? Once you know what it is, and it is likely unique to each individual, affirm yourself for that.
Further capitalize on this insight by making plans to repeat it going forward. I invite my clients to capture those characteristics and behaviors in a Success Journal and build in accountability to ensure repeatability and increase the likelihood of continued stellar performance by the team.
In Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset, we learn about the growth mindset, unlike the fixed mindset, which research shows, tends to produce stronger relationships and higher performance. This growth mindset is characterized by progress toward self-mastery in pre-determined areas.
I encourage my clients to adopt this growth mindset by periodically monitoring the degree of self-mastery in key areas whether it be in communication, influence, strategic thinking, or anything else. Progress made toward self-mastery in any of these areas deserves some self-appreciation and a humble reminder that, concerning our professional and personal growth, we are always a work in process.
To maximize the opportunity always in front of you for personal and professional growth, if you aren’t already, adopt or recommit to the practice of reverse-appreciation. When you affirm others, let that be a reminder to you to self-affirm too. Do this by reflecting on both progress made on your self-mastery goals, and what it is about you that is enabling high performance in you and your teammates. Doing so will continue to fuel the high performance that already exists, or alternatively, which you desire.
Passionate about growing amazing leaders who create great places to work and lead fulfilling lives, Angela enables transformational change in individuals, teams, and businesses. As a Certified Professional Coach, she is skilled at combining sound coaching skills with proven leadership methodologies to cultivate growth and ultimately, results.