Appreciation Matters: Thoughts from a Leadership Expert

“Engaging the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees” by leadership expert Lee J. Colan is a book which outlines how to motivate your team and entrust them to provide exceptional value to your customers. Perhaps the most important topic in this book can be found in Chapter 10: The Need for Appreciation. In this chapter, Colan highlights exactly why appreciation matters.

If an individual doesn’t feel appreciated at work, why would they want to stick around any longer? Here are some key points about the importance of recognizing your employees, and why appreciation matters.

“People will forget what you said. People will even forget what you did. However, people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Carl W. Buehner

A Basic Human Desire

Individuals want their hard work recognized. Without public or private appreciation, people begin to doubt the impact of their work. They may even experience a decline in the amount of effort they provide to their organization. This is why the human need for recognition and appreciation should never be forgotten.

Receiving appreciation isn’t just a basic desire for humans, it also heavily influences productivity. It’s clear to experts like Lee J. Colan that recognition improves overall well-being. Appreciation matters more than many leaders realize.

“The leader who believes that people need no recognition and that they should be content simply to have their jobs will never see passionate performance from his or her employees.” – Lee J. Colan

The Blind Spot

Colan says the need for employee appreciation is a common “blind spot” for many leaders. Leaders and managers often perceive their appreciation of employees to be much greater than it actually is. This is an easy thought-process to fall into because “we judge ourselves by our intentions.” In other words, intentions are only as good as the actions they lead to, and Colan truthfully states that others will ultimately judge us by our actions.

The most efficient way to improve the output of your employees is to show them your appreciation for their effort they give serving customers. Material rewards have their place and temporarily raise employee morale, but genuine appreciation goes deeper. Authentically giving recognition where it’s due engages people.

Personally recognizing your employees encourages them to continue their good work. It also builds lasting relationships and connections between you and your team. Choose to focus more on recognizing and personally appreciation members of your team who are doing a good job. As a result, you’ll realize there’s more room for appreciation than you realized.

“Demonstrating appreciation is not a matter of time and intention. It’s a matter of priority and action.” – Lee J. Colan

Make it Real!

Your appreciation of employees must be genuine. Hollow attempts at recognition can actually cause the opposite effect. Above all, true appreciation is recognizing without needing to receive anything in return. To experience the benefits of fully engaged employees, you must become a demonstrator of your appreciation to them. Colan says, “Don’t worry about recognizing your teams too much. To date, there are no documented studies of employees ever feeling over-appreciated!”


Lee J. Colan’s chapter about the importance of appreciation is a great reminder that the emotional needs of employees must be a priority in order for them to excel in their role. In order to thrive, humans require recognition and appreciation from those around them and those leading them. MyEmployees specializes in helping leaders recognize and effectively show appreciation to their teams. To see the positive impact of recognition and appreciation, check out our client success stories to learn more.

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