Appreciation comes from the entire team and is not something that comes from the leader alone. The entire team can show appreciation for each other and acknowledge their colleagues when they use the tools of giving and receiving feedback.

The key to feedback is that it is accurate, genuine and specific to a behavior.

Feedback in the form of general labels, such as: “You’re a great team member!” may feel good, but it does not provide concrete, usable progress or wins for the person who receives it.  Label-filled feedback can also raise unexpressed questions in the receiver as to the sender’s motives for sending it such as; “What are trying to get me to do?”,or, “Is she/he just saying that to be polite?”

Learning how to give specific, behavior-descriptive feedback that tells the person exactly what it was they did or said that you appreciated, or that helped you, is an important skill to develop as part of team performance.

In addition to giving positive feedback, it is also important to know how to receive it. Many individuals are uncomfortable or unsure about responding to positive feedback that is given to them by others.  A common response can be to deny or diminish the feedback that is received with statements like:  “Don’t mention it.” “It was nothing really.” “Anyone could have done it.”  “Sorry I didn’t do a better job of it.”  These types of responses not only diminish your own self-empowerment, they also diminish the efforts and feelings of the person who sent you the positive message.

Work to identify why you are so uncomfortable about receiving positive messages, if that is true for you.  Just saying “thank you”is one simple way of responding if you have trouble knowing what to say.  Appreciate the efforts and sentiments of others who give you positive feedback and learn to receive, believe and enjoy it.