We’re lucky to have awesome relationships with our clients, and since we’re pretty picky with who we work with in the first place, we’re always very appreciative of one another.

If it weren’t for our amazing clients, our team wouldn’t be able to afford to do what we all love to do for a living. It’s pretty clear just sitting in on our team chats and meetings with clients that the appreciation goes both ways. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I realized how important it really is to feel appreciated when times are tough.

Positivity Is Contagious

"Fabulous" High FiveI’d like to think I’m a pretty nice guy. I’ve been known to overuse phrases like “awesome”, “thank you”, and “you’re the best” during the day when talking to my team or to clients to thank them for pulling together awesome work (see? I did it again), or just being plain awesome (this is getting a little sickening), since I can’t physically give them high fives.

So when clients tell us that one of the best decisions they made in running with their idea was working with us, the whole team gets all bubbly inside. Knowing how that feels makes me remember that it’s my responsibility to pass it on to others because positivity is contagious.

But positivity isn’t only for the good times. It’s even more important when times are tough. When projects aren’t going well, or something is behind, or there’s a big bug that someone is trying to fix—it’s incredibly important to show appreciation then as well.

Appreciated Also Means Motivated

Last weekend I was working on a project with a pretty tight timeline. One of our regular clients needed some help meeting a deadline, and I had to put a whole weekend into getting everything together in time for the launch.

Throughout the entire process the client kept good tabs on who was where and who was doing what through calls and IMs. He also kept a running list of things that needed to be done. Not only that, but he was incredibly patient as well. That’s the kind of appreciation we’re looking to achieve, and it helped us meet our tight deadline.

For example, at some point on Sunday (read: the day we needed to launch) I decided to take a nap, as I was ready to throw a fist through my cinema display. Not thinking I’d actually fall asleep, I woke up to a phone call some 3 hours later from the client leaving a hilarious voicemail telling me (in a much more profane way) to “wake up and get back to work”. That he said it in a way that made me laugh, and that made me feel appreciated, was all it took for me to get back to work.

Every call we had was filled with jokes, stories, and endless appreciation for the work I was doing, and for pulling together to the timeline we committed to and for changing my weekend’s plans including staying up until 6AM to get everything done.

Every time I got stressed out during the timeframe—running into bugs, losing focus, or finding more things that needed to be changed—I could laugh it off because I had that bubbly feeling in my stomach, knowing that the over-and-above work I was doing to meet the deadline was appreciated by the client.

Lessons in Management

So what does this mean for how you manage a team? Don’t lose that positivity. When you start stressing out, you’re only adding to the stress your team has. Be unnecessarily apologetic. Be happy that they’re hacking away. And help whenever you can to make sure they’re focusing on the hard stuff.

Burn out is a real thing. It’s not fun, and you don’t want your team burning out in the midst of a tight deadline. So make sure you show them you care through the good and the bad!

What do you do to show your team that they’re appreciated?

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