Appreciate beauty and excellence in the workplace

Written by
Dan Collinson

15 Nov 2016

15 Nov 2016 • by Dan Collinson

In my previous article, strengths at work, I talked about what the science of strengths was and how a strengths-based approach in the workplace would be of benefit to both the employees and also the organisation. My intention is to create a series of articles that look at each strength in turn from the VIA classification of strengths the leading psychological strengths classification. To kick off the series, this article will be about the strength of appreciation of beauty and excellence.

The VIA have defined the strength of appreciation of beauty and excellence as “Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience”. As with all of the strengths, appreciation of beauty and excellence can be of great benefit in the workplace for the organisation and employees.

What is appreciation of beauty and excellence in the workplace?

A study carried out in 2008 by a team of psychologists showed that appreciation of beauty and excellence is often found to be in the bottom 5 strengths expressed at work. Additionally, their research suggested that appreciation of beauty and excellence was actually the only strength that had a low match with the demands of work. However, this does not mean that the strength of appreciation of beauty and excellence doesn’t have an important and positive part to play in the workplace. Along with the other 23 strengths in the VIA classification, to bring out the best in a strength, it requires an awareness of the strength and then to apply that strength in the appropriate context and appropriate measure.

3 reasons this strength is beneficial

Appreciation of beauty of excellence is important in the workplace as it enables employees to in flourish in ways such as:

1.    Changing the focus of what is going right and not just what is going wrong in the workplace

2.    Appreciation of the talents of colleagues can act as a motivator and re-energise employees

3.    Celebrating individual, team and organisational successes can improve the wellbeing of employees

The strength of appreciation of beauty and excellence can present itself in the workplace in a number of crucial ways. One of the critical ways that the appreciation of beauty and excellence has a positive impact in the workplace is to encourage and motivate individuals and also their fellow colleagues. Putting it into context, a leader who is high in the strength of appreciation of beauty and excellence will be more mindful of when an individual or group is performing excellently. By acknowledging this excellent performance and feeding this back to the group or individual by praising their efforts, the leader is more likely to see the knock on effect being that the individual or group is  being more motivated to maintain their high levels of employee engagement and performance.

Appreciation of beauty is important in business areas such as research & development and marketing as teams attempt to develop products and services that potential customers will be attracted to and appreciate, so that they are able to make more sales. 

3 ways to develop your appreciation of beauty and excellence

Knowing about the benefits of applying the strength of appreciation and beauty in the workplace is important, but how do we go about doing it. Here are 3 simple and effective ways of developing this strength:

1.    When you notice excellent performance, feed it back to the employee/s, so as to create a workplace culture where excellent performance is to be acknowledged and celebrated.
2.    Make a conscious effort look for occasions when beauty and excellence is displayed, so that it then becomes a conscious habit.
3.    If you’re not performing at your best, make some time to go to a place that you’re fond of, e.g. a local park, and appreciate all of the beauty around you.

If employees are able to play to their strength of appreciation of beauty and excellence more frequently in their job, there can be a profound and positive impact for employees and the organsiation. Look out for when you or a colleague is using the strength of appreciation of beauty and excellence and encourage them to use it more often.

In my next article, I’ll take a look at the positive impact of the strength of Bravery can have for employees and the organisation.