Each and every person needs recognition and appreciation. Recognition means that what you do, and how you matter to someone or to the organization, is being seen as valuable. Appreciation is receiving positive feedback on what you do and how you matter. In the Netherlands we are not very generous in this regard. In our Calvinist culture, we are more likely to say what is not right. To us, more often the glass is half empty than it is half full.
The importance of appreciation and recognition
Whatever you nurture, will grow. Even Maslow already knew, that appreciation and recognition are among the basic human needs. A feeling of being appreciated contributes to your happiness at work. You enjoy your work more and you perform better. And that, in turn, has a positive effect on your colleagues. Lack of appreciation and recognition is the main reason for people to change jobs. So if you want your colleagues to continue working with you, make sure you give them the recognition they deserve and make the feel appreciated. For it is a big misunderstanding that compliments can only be given by managers.
How do you share recognition and appreciation?
What you give, you get back. So if you know how to give others a feeling of recognition and appreciation, you are more likely to receive the same feeling from others. Here are some suggestions on how you can go about this:
- Give compliments. More often say what you think, as long as it is positive. Always compliment a person on behavior or performance and never on appearance or qualities.
- Compliment on specific things, so say what it is about. Instead of ‘well done!’ it is better to say ‘I found your presentation very enlightening!’
- In particular pay attention to desired behavior. So compliment on behavior you would like others to show.
- Always be sincere and honest. Don’t pretend being appreciative simply because it’s high time you are; it won’t work.
- Personalize your appreciation and show it directly, also when it is intended for a group of people. So avoid generalities or conveying appreciation using a third-person perspective, because it is likely to have less impact.
- Be careful with your timing. There will always be good and less good moments to pay a compliment to someone.
- Know who to put in the limelight and in what way. Some people enjoy a lot of attention, and others would rather crawl under a rock.