Monday, September 20, 2021

A Life Hack Everyone Needs - Appreciation in the Workplace

by Sara Stoessel, MHI, MBOE, RHIA, CCDS, LSSBB, CPHQ

As the Beatles would sing, “Love is all you need.”   Contrast this with the realities of life; love tends to take a backset to the pressures and crisis of the day along with all the “real work” commitments.  I would like to challenge ourselves as we embark on an OHIMA Leadership Series this year on how to not only challenge and grow as leaders in our profession, but as human beings.  There are ways to reflect love through appreciative praise, all the while meet the demands of the day; albeit professional or personal.  

Appreciation in itself is not a luxury afforded to the less-busy, it is an inherent need all humans have.  Steven Covey, author of the bestselling and still popular Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, (2004) feels so strongly about people's need for appreciation he states: "Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated" (p. 241).  Oprah Winfrey stated from over 37,000 interviews the single common question from all interviewed, was seeking validation that they were accepted.  She goes on to say presidents, rock stars alike, “Everyone you meet just wants to be seen and heard,” Winfrey said on Feb. 8 in Brooklyn, New York, during Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus.

So if President Barack Obama or the famous singer, Beyoncé is seeking acceptance and validation from press interviews; what do you think your interpersonal relationships are seeking from you?  What are you seeking from those around you? Regardless of generational differences, or one’s demographics; humans have a compelling need for affirmation and validation.  

I want to share a life hack that helps me not only practice gratitude for my own well-being, but also for those in my life.  I have found it brings joy from others, while I feel more connected and happier in the interactions.  I will say taking the time to do this step saves me in the long haul when relationships are need of repair and I truly am not forced to be inauthentic or change my own personality.  This hack is something I can do how and when I please and do not have to wait for the setting to be perfect before I act. It takes a few minutes and is alike to practicing gratitude and studies showing at that moment a reduction in both depression and anxiety while in a grateful mindset; it has personal benefits that lead to a more positive outlook in life.  (Read more here on the Neuroscience of Gratitude.) 

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Dr. Gary Chapman and Paul White is the manual to the Life Hack I am referencing.  Dr. Chapman is a renowned, bestselling author for The 5 Love Languages.  He developed this actionable theory after years in marital counseling that boils the miscommunications and misunderstandings between the couple as, “Speaking a different Language” and by taking the time to speak the other’s preferred language you will connect and communicate more effectively, in turn identify the root of conflicts, and repair while strengthening the relationship.  (Read more here on The Five Love Languages Explained.)

Comparable to the love language preference, the term appreciation is swapped into the work-appropriate context.  The five language preferences are the same in the language series of books, and shares examples and rationale for making the effort and mutual benefits to be gained.  Rather than go into the full gambit of the languages and how to apply, I encourage you to read for yourself, take the free online language test and try out with family and teammates.  Additionally, please join us on December 8, 2021 at 4:30 PM for OHIMA’s first Virtual Leadership Book Club where we will share insights and stories along with key takeaways in and out of the workplace.



About the Author 

is the current Director
of Leadership on the OHIMA FY 2021-22 Board of Directors. Sara is the Director of Performance Improvement at Knox Community Hospital.