By Dennis McIntee

A recent Gallup survey found the top 3 things team members and employees say they need to stay with a company, and the results might surprise you. They certainly were interesting to me. The things they cited as needing most were:

  1. Appreciation
  2. Help with personal problems
  3. Feeling “in” on things

Money didn’t even make the top 3.

In my years of working with leaders and teams, I’ve discovered that people typically don’t leave jobs, they leave their immediate supervisor. That’s why appreciation is so important. When people feel appreciated, they feel safe and are free to work hard and produce great results.

Sadly, we are often so concerned about trying to produce great outcomes that the actual human side of what we are doing falls away. The end goal becomes all that matters and people end up feeling burned out and underappreciated. And what do people that are feeling that way do?  They leave to find a place that will appreciate them as people and will recognize the skills and talents that they bring to the table.

In light of that, I’ve discovered a little framework I call TSP. You’re probably thinking, “Dennis, TSP stands for teaspoon. I’m never going to be able to think of it as anything else.” That’s exactly right, and it makes this framework so easy to remember! It’s just a small portion. It’s not a tablespoon, a cup, or even a trailer full. It’s just a TSP, but it goes a long way.

When working with people, make it a habit to appreciate them with feedback that is Truthful, Specific, and Positive — TSP. Truthful appreciation is so important because people can tell when you’re just blowing smoke. Don’t just say nice things to be nice.

Show people that you truly see and are thankful for the value they bring to the table. When we celebrate things that are specific to them, it shows that we are paying attention. Finally, when we make it our aim to celebrate the positive things we see in our people or see them doing, it encourages them to continue. What’s celebrated gets replicated.

When you put the TSP framework into practice, it sets you up to consistently affirm and appreciate the people on your team. Your team will be grateful that you took the time to intentionally and specifically recognize them. If you can make it more about character than performance, it’s even better!

Remember, the number one thing people say they need the most but seem to get the least is appreciation. It’s so important to make appreciation part of your every day — do it publicly and do it often. It’s guaranteed to pay off.

Asking questions also shows people that you value them and their input. We’ve put together a Coaching Questions Toolkit to help you get started. You can get it for free here.