The How, When and What of Making Your Team Members Feel Appreciated As a New Manager

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on January 24, 2022

This blog post is part of our Truity at Work series for those who are new to people management. In these posts, we’re creating useful content for managers and teams alike, helping you to understand personality, improve communication, and navigate conflict and change with ease. For an overview of the series, start with our introductory post here

People don’t just come to work to get paid; they also come to work for a purpose. And while that purpose will differ, everyone wants to know they are achieving it in some way. Appreciation helps us know we are “on-purpose” or having an impact. 

Of course, when and how often each person wants that appreciation differs, but we can use personality type to help us recognize and work with those core differences. 

Let’s delve a little deeper. 

First, what is appreciation?

In the work context, appreciation is the act of acknowledging the good work that someone is doing or has done. Showing appreciation requires you to express specific positive feedback and gratitude for how someone has handled a situation with a customer, wrangled data into a spreadsheet, or given an excellent product pitch. 

Simply put, it is showing that you value someone’s effort.

When people worry about their work it reduces their productivity. They become distracted, lose focus and can struggle to make decisions.   

Appreciation reduces this uncertainty. It helps people know they are aligned with the overall goal or mission of the team or organization. It tells them that they are trusted to do their work and that their effort and work-product is valued, motivating them to both improve and remain focused. 

Appreciation is a huge win-win.

So, why do managers struggle with giving appreciation? 

Managers can feel really uncomfortable about giving appreciation, assuming people simply know how much they are valued. Managers also struggle with balancing positive and negative feedback, and worry that giving one will impact the other. And some managers have little experience receiving positive feedback, so don’t know how to give it.  

But leaving employees to read between the lines isn’t helpful or a good use of time or energy. 

It’s not about big end-of-year rewards

The best appreciation is small, simple and sincere. Ideally, it is something that happens on a daily or weekly basis. So don’t wait for end-of-year performance reviews or award nights (but don’t skip those either). Just pay attention to the effort people are putting them in and recognize it. 

Appreciation can be as a simple as:

  • “Thanks for getting this to me early, I appreciate having the extra time to prepare for the meeting.”
  • “Here are the metrics from the recent social media campaign, the content you created is doing well.”
  • “I appreciate you bringing this issue to my attention quickly, it gives us more time to deal with it before it becomes a massive problem.”
  • “I love this slogan, it really captures the essence of the business and the customer needs.”
  • “Thanks for keeping this meeting on schedule.”
  • “Great catch, I really appreciate how you have your eye on the small print.”
  • “Thanks for bringing that to our attention, that is something we don’t want to overlook.”
  • “I noticed you worked late last night, I appreciate your extra effort to close this deal, but don’t make it a habit, your time with your family is important too.”
  • “Great job on that design; do you need my support to further develop your skills?”
  • “I know this didn't go to plan, but you put in a lot of effort and learnt a lot; that isn't time wasted.”

All it takes to be great at appreciation is to notice the effort your team puts in and acknowledge that effort, or a value or quality about it, clearly and specifically. 

When do people want appreciation? (Thinkers vs Feelers) 

When it comes to appreciation, it pays to know which of your team members are Feelers (there’s an F in their Typefinder for the Workplace four-letter code e.g. ISFJ, ENFP) and which are Thinkers (T in their four-letter code e.g. INTJ, ESTP). That is because there is a huge difference in when they want your appreciation. 

Because Feelers are focused on the state of the relationship they have with you, they need appreciation early and often. They want to know that they are doing okay, and that you value their efforts before a project starts, during the project and at the end of the project. 

To Thinkers that seems like an insane proposition. As Thinkers are task focused, they aren’t as concerned about their relationship with you (it still matters, but it’s secondary). So they are only interested in feedback and appreciation when the task is completed, or at the end of the project. 

This is a big difference!

If you are a Thinker and manage Feelers, you will need to step outside your comfort zone and learn to provide appreciation more frequently and before the end of a task.

If you are a Feeler and manage Thinkers, you may need to hold back some of your appreciation for the end of a task or project. This may feel unnatural at first, so aim to write down all the appreciation you would have given and see if it still applies later on. 

But either way, everyone needs appreciation.

How do people want appreciation? (Extraverts vs Introverts) 

Some people are very uncomfortable giving or receiving feedback in a public setting. As a rule of thumb you might say Extraverts are more comfortable with giving and receiving appreciation in public, while Introverts prefer it in private. But, it’s more complicated than that.

So aim to give a mix of appreciation, some verbal and some in writing. Some in private and some in a public setting. 

In private could be in a 1:1 meeting, by email, in a handwritten note or via a gift. In public can be at a team meeting, team lunch or company function. And feel free to check with someone in advance whether they are okay with big public announcements. 

What do people want to be appreciated for? (Temperament)

If you're uncomfortable with giving (or receiving) appreciation, don’t worry about tailoring appreciation yet. Just start by noticing each employee’s effort and being specific in your appreciation.

If you know your team member’s personality type and temperament, then it may be helpful to know what each person secretly hopes you will acknowledge them for. 

The Idealists (NFs) would love to be acknowledged for their special contribution—for seeing a situation from a unique perspective, creating something original,  considering the impact on everyone involved, and for their ability to inspire others.

The Rationals (NTs) would love to be acknowledged for their strategic foresight and analysis of a situation, particularly around complex issues or systems. They want to be known as an expert in their field, for seeing the data from an intelligent perspective, and that their strategy was on-point.

The Artisans (SPs) would love to be acknowledged for how well they handled that unexpected situation—for their calm approach in a crisis, ability to troubleshoot problems in a straightforward, resourceful and clever way, and how they approach risks. 

The Guardians (SJs) would love to be acknowledged for their diligence. Dependable, hardworking and reliable, they will make sure their projects are completed on time and to the appropriate standard. And they wish to be appreciated for their ability to streamline administrative tasks and get them handled. 

Side note: As organizations are often filled with SJs, their contributions can be overlooked and underappreciated. When their dependability and reliability is seen as the norm, we can forget to appreciate people for it. 

You can also ask someone what matters to them, and what they are focused on improving, and provide positive feedback around that when you see it.

What’s next?

To up your appreciation game, try the following:

  • Consider what appreciation means to you, both giving and receiving
  • Ask your team to do the Typefinder assessment and share their results with you so you know when they want appreciation
  • Assess how much appreciation is already happening in your team
  • Spend five days observing how much appreciation you give to people

And then whatever that gap is, practice!  

Appreciation makes a huge difference to engagement and productivity. Managing is more than just ensuring people are on task, and this is a small, inexpensive way to make a big difference in someone’s day and their career.  

Ready to get started? Visit our testing for business page to see discounted group pricing  and learn how we make personality testing easy for you and your team. For help interpreting the results, as well as insights, insightful growth exercises, Q&A and more, book a virtual workshop or drop me a line at today.

Samantha Mackay

Samantha is the Lead Trainer at Truity and is Enneagram Coach, certified by CP Enneagram Academy. She believes knowing your personality is the key to navigating life's hurdles. Samantha is an ENTP and Enneagram 7, who is always surrounded by a pile of books, a steaming cup of tea and a block of her favourite chocolate. Find her on LinkedIn: Check out her course "Unlocking the Power of Your Personality" at

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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