Have you ever felt unappreciated? Like no one gives a crap about all the hard work you are doing? It sucks when you feel that way! And it will often send you into a downward spiral with your emotions if you feel undervalued and unacknowledged for what you are doing. When you aren’t recognized for the work you do, even just given a minuscule compliment, over time it builds up an underlying resentment whether you are aware of it or not.
It is a basic human need to want to be seen, to be recognized and to be acknowledged for what we do. The fact is that majority of people leave their jobs not because of the company culture but because of their manager. And if you drill down into why, a common reason is they didn’t feel valued or appreciated for the work they did.
One of my favorite engagement questions to ask is “what have you done in the last day or week that you’d like to be acknowledged for?” This is a very powerful question, especially for supervisors. In these hectic times, a manager most likely does not have the time to know all the details of what the team is doing. And it’s easy to let things fall through the cracks. This question opens up the space to allow the employee to say what they feel is important for them that they are proud of—something the manager might otherwise not have had a clue about! And it’s important to recognize their employee for whatever the answer may be.
It’s important to introduce this question the first time you use it because it is not a normal question. And depending on the person, it may make them feel a little uncomfortable because they aren’t used to thinking this way and may not want to come across as bragging. But once you’ve used the question, it’s easy to bring it up regularly and people will get used to it and start to look forward to it. This question works great for parents too, especially with teenagers!
Another great way to connect to others is to remember what the shortest distance is between two people…a smile! By smiling at someone, it automatically connects us to them, it transcends differences, cultures, and languages. Our mirror neurons in our brain will automatically kick in and give a smile back when someone smiles at us. A smile is the bridge to a new friendship. It gives validation to a person.
So whether it is a stranger or one of your colleagues, remember to connect through a smile, a kind word, or a compliment that makes them feel valued and recognized as a fellow human being journeying through life.
I came across this film recently that shows the power of recognition and validation. Hope you enjoy it!