2 – Acknowledgement of contribution

Pat on the back
Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.” Khalil Gibran
One of the most common ‘complaints' I hear about bosses is: “I'm not recognised for my work”. There is a major issue with this:
Being recognised by others is a value that is completely outside of your control – it may happen, it may not. You cannot cause someone else to recognise you or your contribution.
The only thing you can choose to do is to recognise others and show your appreciation to them using their prefered method of being appreciated. And yes I do mean showing the other person your appreciation, and hence recognition, in the way they both hear and understand that you have done so.
Gary Chapman at Paul White have identified that there are five languages of appreciation at work and each of us has a primary and often a secondary way that we hear and understand for what it is. If someone uses the ‘wrong' way for us, it's possible that we do not even notice it. In other words, someone could be recognising you, but because they are using the ‘wrong' language for you, you do not hear or realise that they have done so.
Let me share an example of one husband and wife entrepreneurial couple who had set up a business together and had moderate success. The wife complained to her business mentor that she was ‘fed up' because her husband never recognised her contribution to the business. On discussing this with the husband, he was shocked and a little frustrated because he was sure that he regularly thanked her and told her what a great job she was doing and lamented that she never told him that he was doing great…
The problem was simple, the husband's primary language of appreciation was ‘words of affirmation' – he liked to be told that he was appreciated and consequently, that's how he showed his appreciation to others. His wife, on the other hand, wanted him to show it through him bringing the coffee, “at least once in a year” and to help her with the book-keeping at the end of month. She liked to be appreciated with ‘acts of service'. Indeed, that was also how she showed her appreciation to her husband.
It wasn't that they were not recognising each other's contribution, just that they used their own language to show it rather than the other's language.
I strongly recommend that you find our your own preference, and the preferences of the people closest to you as well as your colleagues, your boos and your coach's.
The five languages of appreciation in summary are:
  1. Words of affirmation – words spoken or written to affirm or encourage
  2. Acts of service – Assisting someone with a task or working alongside someone to help them
  3. Tangible gifts – Giving someone something they like and showing thought (rather than monetary value)
  4. Physical touch – Whilst less important in the workplace than at home, this is the high-five congratulations or the literal ‘pat on the back' – used only appropriately, touch can go a long way to show that you appreciate someone.
  5. Quality time – focused personal attention with someone or simply ‘hanging out'
Which of these do you like to receive? Which one does your boss like? If you honestly think you are not being recognised by your boss, I can guarantee that they are different. Now your job is to deliberately show them your appreciation by using their prefered language and recognise yourself.
If you have been working with a coach or a buddy on your learning and growth journey it's a powerful and kind thing to acknowledge their contribution.
Most coaches that I know have a fundamental personal driver to make a difference in the lives of others. We all know in ourselves that we have helped but the biggest reward you can offer your coach is to acknowledge their contribution… using, of course, their prefered way of being appreciated.
One of my own great moments in life was when someone I had chatted with years previously saw me again at a networking event. We said hello and then he told me that I had shared with him a story about being aligned to your goal using the metaphor of sailing and that he wanted to tell me that he still vividly remembered that moment when he had his big “aha” and changed his life. This wasn't even a client, just someone I had met once. But when he showed his appreciation to me (words of affirmation) I glowed inside and carried that feeling with me.
Use the Feedback sandwich template to provide feedback to your coach or buddy.