Wednesday 11 November 2020

Feeling appreciated is our deepest craving

I have been researching what employees really want from employers and fellow employees for more than two decades. Appreciation tops the list. 

The eminent psychologist William James observed: “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” 

Feeling appreciated and being willing and able to show appreciation to others are foundation stones of Heart-Leadership.

I'm a fan of former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. In his book 'Adults in the Room' Yanis says:

"We can not subcontract the discussions about what is proper, what is just, what is fair, what is right, to some algorithm, to any algorithm - even to the most fascinatingly brilliant algorithm. These are always going to be the result of debate, of dialogue, of ‘agora’ in the ancient Greek tradition. Of sitting around and discussing until the cows come home - there is no escape from that.” 

The rage is everything digital. I believe it's overrated. Yes digital has an important place in the future yet only in my view if it enhances the human experience and solves human problems.

Most of the talk and the reality is about making more stuff. Most of us don't need anymore stuff!

The future I want to co-create is about being better humans. The future is all about being decisively human in a decidedly digital world.

All human beings have aspirations. New world of work leaders know intimately the aspirations of their colleagues and therefore can have both appreciation and accountability conversations. These are foundational to healthy debate and dialogue.

Knowing your own and other people’s aspirations is the edge of two sides of the coin of appreciation and accountability. One without the other doesn’t lead to performance improvement. Appreciation conversations in harmony with accountability conversations leads to performance improvement.

Here’s my simple yet profound communication technique that I teach my clients. I call it The Double A Technique:

Ask: “How are things going?”

When you get a positive response:
Ask: “How does that make you feel?”
(be quiet and pay attention)

Then say, Great, Brilliant or whatever is appropriate.

Then ask: “Any other areas I can help you with?”
(be quiet and pay attention)

When you get a negative response

Ask: “What happened?” (be quiet and pay attention)

Then Ask: “What do you need to do to get back on track?”
(be quiet and pay attention)

 Then Ask: “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
(be quiet and pay attention)

Finally, Ask: “Anything else?”
(be quiet and pay attention)

How could you do better in having appreciation and accountability conversations with your workmates?

In the video below I demonstrate this technique.

I can promise you this: become an expert at having appreciation and accountability conversations each day and optimum performance will follow.

Today more than ever technological change is replacing jobs. Half of the jobs available today will be gone in a decade or less.

This is because machines will soon do most of the algorithmic work, the simple, routine, and repetitive. I think this is a good thing for it means there's great opportunity for us humans.

Conversations like the above help people to be remarkable and do work that is meaningful for them and highly valuable for others. This is the future of human work.

In a wonderful book Technology vs Humanity (see my review of this book here) Gerd Leonhard refers to andorithms "those qualities that makes us human" have more meaning than algorithms.

Embracing this in your own best way is a key to every human's happiest future.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

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