In order to be at our best, in order to think at our best, we need appreciation. While being appreciated for the work we do feels good, it turns out that appreciation can actually boost our brain power. Research reported by Nancy Kline in More Time to Think: The Power of Independent Thinking, shows that appreciation has a positive effect on blood flow to the brain.
Researchers, using a neuro-imaging technique called the SPECT scan studied how appreciative thoughts and feelings affected blood flow to the brain. According to Kline,“[t]hey found that less blood flows to the brain, particularly the cerebellum, cingulated gyrus and the left basal ganglia when we are thinking critical thoughts. Blood flows to those areas well, on the other hand, when we are thinking appreciative thoughts. Appreciation, it seems, is necessary for optimal brain functioning.”
Appreciation does something else in addition to improving our brain function. A workplace culture that is appreciative is a culture that will help to create engaged employees. “So what?” you may be thinking. “What the heck is an engaged employee, and, more importantly, why should I care?” Engaged employees are essential to the health and growth of your firm. Engaged employees are happier, more productive, and more client-focused. That translates into more profit for your firm and a much more resonant environment – a place that people look forward to coming to each morning, rather than dreading. To learn more about employee engagement, click here.
Kline offers a simple formula for showing appreciation – The Three S’s. Be: Succinct, Sincere, and Specific. She also suggests that for appreciation to be truly effective, we must practice a 5:1 ratio of appreciation to criticism.
Appreciation costs you nothing to give. It simply requires that you notice the good things people do and acknowledge them for it. If you get into the habit, your team will not only think better, they’ll be engaged. A team of engaged people who are thinking at their best is your recipe for success.