WHEN was the last time you appreciated someone for what he did? How was his reaction? Appreciation is one of the most powerful, yet overlooked, aspects of successfully motivating and empowering people.

According to Mike Robbins, author of the bestselling book, Focus on the Good Stuff, when individuals and teams put more attention on what’s working instead of focusing on problems and perceived weaknesses, they thrive.

He found that the latest research in the fields of positive psychology and strengths based leadership illustrates how appreciation impacts productivity, morale and success. In his book, Robbins discussed appreciation from his personal experience.

He asked, “How many of you have ever had something taken away from you in your life only to realise how much you appreciated it after its gone?” As it turned out, Robbins was a professional baseball player who had his career end prematurely.

After reflecting upon whether he had any regrets, he concluded that he didn’t appreciate his career while he still had it; he’d missed the point.

Robbins uses this example to make his first point: in our pursuit of happiness, success, goals and dreams, we forget about where we are currently. This is applicable not only in the workplace but at home.

When was the last time we showed appreciation to our family for helping us out? Do we show enough appreciation to our children? Chances are we don’t. We tend to focus on the results rather than the effort. We’re quick to judge our children and forget the struggles they had to go through.


Robbins reveals that not only does appreciation impact relationships and how we feel about ourselves, it also impacts our productivity.

He found that a 20 per cent increase in productivity was observed when workers felt valued and appreciated by their employers.

Appreciation does have a unique power to push people up. Imagine this happening to our children. Wouldn’t you love to see them try harder and deliver 20 per cent more merely by appreciating them more?

Robbins adds that it’s important to note the difference between recognition and appreciation. Recognition is positive feedback based on results and performance. However, it’s finite, scarce and limited. Appreciation, however, is more about people and focuses on who you are, not what you do.

Recognition happens only when results are delivered. Think of a child’s exam results. What if it’s not what the parents expected? The poor child may get a scolding for failing to deliver.

It’s too late to wait for results to happen. There’s a risk that the child may never feel appreciated and ends up giving up halfway.

A simple appreciation of their struggles can boost their morale when it matters. Let’s not wait any longer. Appreciate our children and family for who they are. Let’s do it today!

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces. Reach him at zaid@ smartparents. com.my

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