In the complex and often demanding world of team collaboration, fostering a positive environment is essential for success. Sharing appreciation within the team is a powerful tool that goes beyond the scope of merely enhancing performance; it helps create a strong bond, nurtures trust, and boosts morale. While leaders often play a critical role in expressing appreciation, there’s an untapped reservoir of power that emerges when team members share appreciation with each other.

During a recent offsite that I had the pleasure of facilitating, I witnessed the transformative impact of shared appreciations first-hand. The exercise, though seemingly simple, was profoundly impactful and invigorated a sense of unity and recognition among the team members.

Before the meeting, each participant was secretly assigned a teammate to observe throughout the offsite. The task was straightforward: take note of the positive ways in which their assigned person contributed to the team and the meeting, and at the end of the last day, share their observations in a team appreciation session.

Here is the email template I used:

Dear Jane Doe,

During the upcoming off-site meeting, we will be engaging in a special activity to foster team bonding and appreciation. Here’s what you need to know:

1. You will be assigned one person to observe secretly throughout the off-site.
2. Keep your assigned person confidential and don’t share it with others.
3. At the end of the day on Thursday you will reveal the person you observed and have 2 minutes to share observations about how they contributed and added value to the team as well as their unique traits and strengths that make them special.

Your assigned person is Jamal.

Remember, it’s a secret until the final session! Let’s make this activity a meaningful experience that strengthens your team bonds.

If you have any questions about this let me know.

Looking forward to a valuable off-site.

Safe travels,
Leigh Ann

As the plan was set in motion, an immediate reaction was noted. Upon the announcement of this activity via an email to all participants, the excitement was palpable. Three team members immediately expressed their enthusiasm and readiness to engage in this task, setting a positive tone for the upcoming offsite.

As the team offsite progressed, everyone observed their peers intently, seeking positive traits, actions, and contributions. This task subtly shifted the team dynamic by encouraging a focus on positivity, and fostered a deepened sense of understanding and empathy among the members.

Finally, the time for sharing came. In the final thirty minutes of the multi-day team offsite, each participant verbally appreciated their assigned team member. The atmosphere in the room was electrifying, filled with a blend of camaraderie, respect, and acknowledgment. Everyone left feeling recognized and valued for their contributions, carrying with them a renewed sense of purpose and unity.

Summary

Shared appreciations proved to be more than just a team-building exercise; it was a heartening reminder of the power of recognition and empathy in team dynamics. It highlighted the potential of shared appreciations as a tool to not only reinforce team harmony but also bolster the team’s resilience and productivity. Encourage your team to participate in this exercise, and witness the transformative power of shared appreciations in action.

About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams, Team Consultant Academy, and FORWARD, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.

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