A Guide to Effective Appreciation

There are numerous resources on how to give feedback effectively: pack it like a sandwich, ask permission to share feedback, balance negative feedback with five positive points, etc. Many of us struggle with giving feedback because we don’t want to hurt the other person or feel like a bad person. Giving feedback that the other person hears without getting upset is hard, and there are almost as many ways to give feedback as there are people.

The Challenge of Appreciation

When it comes to giving appreciation, there are fewer resources and frameworks. Appreciations are positive by nature, making it easier to say something nice than to share constructive criticism. However, just because saying something positive is easier doesn’t mean it can’t go wrong. Messing up an appreciation might not offend someone, but it can come across as insincere or empty, missing the chance to make the other person feel seen and valued.

The Importance of Appreciation

Appreciation might seem touchy-feely or unnecessary, but it’s a powerful tool for building trust and strengthening teams. Research shows that appreciation has significant positive effects on relationships and team dynamics. Here are two key benefits:

1. Building Trust

When we share an appreciation, we tell someone we noticed something meaningful they did. This act of seeing and acknowledging them is a step towards building trust. It can be nerve-wracking to share an appreciation, especially if the other person shrugs it off, but taking that step shows you value them.

2. Reinforcing Positive Behavior

Appreciation reinforces behaviors and practices you value. Positive reinforcement signals that certain behaviors are welcome and valued, encouraging people to engage in them more. Whether you’re in a leadership role or an individual contributor, sharing what you value with others leads to more of those valued behaviors.

Tips for Giving Great Appreciation

Sharing appreciation can be impactful, but it needs to be done thoughtfully. Here are some tips to get good at appreciating people:

1. Be Timely

Share appreciation as soon as possible after the appreciated action occurs. The more time that passes, the less impactful the appreciation becomes.

Example: If someone asks insightful questions in a meeting, express your appreciation immediately after the meeting, either live or in a Slack/Microsoft Teams message.

2. Be Specific

Avoid generic compliments. Highlight specific actions and their impact.

Example: Instead of "Thank you for all that you do," say "I really appreciate the questions you asked about the new product features. Those questions started a great discussion that helped us design a whole new feature we hadn’t even considered."

3. Be Yourself

Use authentic language that reflects your true feelings. Avoid formal and corporate language.

Example: Instead of "Thank you for taking care of our clients," say "The way you help and guide our clients makes them love our team even more!"


These simple yet powerful changes can transform how you express appreciation. By being timely, specific, and authentic, you can significantly impact your team's trust and connection. Start implementing these tips today and observe the positive changes in your team's dynamics.

HeyTaco makes it even easier to implement these appreciation practices. With HeyTaco, you can effortlessly share timely and specific appreciations within your team, reinforcing positive behavior and building trust. By integrating gratitude into the flow of work, HeyTaco helps create a culture of recognition and appreciation.

Give HeyTaco a try (free for 30 days!)  and watch your team's morale and collaboration thrive. If you have any thoughts, questions, or disagreements, let us know. We’d love to hear from you. 


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