In the workplace, it seems so easy to focus on what’s wrong, what’s not working, or the problems we are experiencing. The things that represent our daily challenges are what capture our attention. It is much harder to focus on the positives: What is our team doing well, what progress has been made, what successes have we accomplished, etc. Although we might make an effort to recognize performance or reward employees on occasion, acknowledgement is quite different; and the difference is quite simple. Praise and recognition compliment the behavior someone demonstrated or the result they achieved; acknowledgement compliments the person they are being.
Acknowledgement is about reminding someone and helping them see what they often forget in themselves. It’s a deeper form of recognition, and one where the person being acknowledged feels really heard and seen for who they are, or who they are trying to be. If it is done well you will truly build their confidence. The real key is that it is not about what or how they’re doing it, but who or how they’re being in order to do it.
So, here are my suggestions for acknowledging your employees effectively:
Keep it short and sweet: Acknowledgement is not meant to be long and drawn out. It’s a quick way to share what you notice and recognize the person for who they are.
Be sincere. The best acknowledgement is the one that comes straight from the heart.
Recognize it’s an art: Just like appreciating art, we all see something different in individuals, and that’s what makes acknowledgement so special. What I acknowledge might be different than what you might acknowledge in someone. And, hopefully, we’ll help them see something they might not notice, or something special they might have forgotten was there.
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