The Life-Changing Approach to Genuine Appreciation

November 26, 2017

Nothing feels better than being genuinely valued and appreciated, right? Whether it’s from your boss, a client, or a family member who you’ve helped out, nothing warms you from the inside out quite like the right words of encouragement.

So, what are those words, exactly?

Since becoming a mum, I’ve been learning more about the art of genuinely appreciating people. Some people are great at it, some people just plain suck. A classic example of what I am trying to avoid…

Toddler does something that is in line with what I wanted.

“Good boy.”


Toddler does something that is perhaps a little different to the ideal scenario.

“Bad boy.”

Double ugh.


But I hear people do this all the time, like they don’t even think about it. It’s almost like autopilot. I do it too sometimes, though I am trying to break the habit. And it’s so stupid because the actions of my toddler have nothing to do with whether he is good or bad. And if he starts to think that he needs to do stuff to win my approval, that’s dangerous and isn’t going to set us up for a good relationship in the years to come.

The same principle can be applied to business relationships with your staff and customers.

So, what do you say instead of “good boy” or “bad boy”?

“Oh, thanks dude. I appreciate that you put your toys away.”

“I see that you wiped your snot on my shirt. Could you please use a hanky next time?”

Do you see the difference? This is a respectful way to respond to your child. It addresses very specifically what action they did, and expresses appreciation and/or guidance for future. It does not accuse or shame. It does not talk down to them. It trusts that they will do what’s needed for next time.

Amazingly, though, this kind of respect is also rare in businesses and among adults. Perhaps it’s because we were all raised to hear “good boy” or “bad boy”. Or perhaps we’re just too busy to stop and really take the time to appreciate the people around us. But I’d encourage you that it’s something worth doing.


Employees, clients, and contractors who feel genuinely appreciated and respected hang around longer, help to boost profits, and give off a much better vibe. Try this on for size:

“Thanks Jane for your help this morning. I feel much calmer with you here taking care of those administration tasks for me so that I don’t have to stress.”

“Roger, I so appreciate you supporting me in this venture. Your loyalty over the years means so much and you’ve been a big part of developing my business to where it is today.”

“Thank you, Thomas, for your hard work on putting this logo together. It’s impressive that you could whip this up so quickly. Here are a few suggestions I’d like to make so that we can get it finalised.”

Or, instead, you could just tell them they’re a good person… but then you’d be missing out on an opportunity to genuinely thank them, brighten their day, motivate them, and make a lasting impact. Up to you!



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