It never ceases to amaze me the number of leaders I encounter who don’t quite understand how much power there is in acknowledgement – specifically in acknowledging those who work so hard for us and help us achieve our business or corporate objectives. It is surprising that there are still leaders around who believe that a pay check is enough, and nothing more should be offered to our workers in exchange for their hard work.
I suppose it is true, that nothing else is required. The simple equation is we hire, we negotiate remuneration – the staff person fulfills her/his duties and we put money in their bank account every fortnight. There is so much missing from this equation however. Leaders who think narrowly in this way will be limited in what they get from the staff that they hire, many of whom will be no more than “hired help.”
Have you ever been at a party or a corporate event, and overheard someone speaking about you? What happened? That’s right, your ears perked up, and you wanted to know what they were saying. Then, as you listened to the conversation and the comments you realized they were singing your praises and talking about your excellence either in your skills or your accomplishments. What was this experience like for you? If you are like most, it made you want to do even more to prove they were right.
People are just that – people. And people were created as relational beings that thrive on meaningful human connection and meaningful bonds. If you do not thrive on meaningful human connection, you are not well and you should seek some professional help.
In the vast majority of cases, people long to be appreciated and valued, both in the workplace and at home (as well as other environments). Are you an acknowledger? Do you recognize the power you have at your disposal when you acknowledge and appreciate the contributions as well as the character of those on your team, no matter how senior or how well paid they are? If you have not yet discovered the power of acknowledgement, you are missing out on one of the most powerful and easy to implement tools to get more out of your people. Remember, people are your most valuable resource, so be sure to build them up and treat them like your most valuable resource.
Cameron’s Call to Action
- Take stock of both the formal and informal things you do in your company to acknowledge others.
- Make acknowledgment and appreciation a formal part of your company’s practice. If leaders in your company are not equipped with what they need to properly acknowledge people, change that.
- Identify at least one senior leader and one more junior team member in your organization that you have not personally acknowledged in a while. Deliver a meaningful acknowledgement and take note of the impact. If something good comes out of it, double your efforts next week. If not, write to me and let’s arrange a time to speak to talk about how to improve on your acknowledgements in future.