Friday, March 12, 2010

Showing Appreciation

People want to be appreciated. We want acknowledgment of a job well done.

I once had a co-worker who said he didn’t feel like he needed to be told that he was doing well at his job. My first reaction was 1. that’s not true, he’s lying to himself, and 2. there must be something wrong with me for needing that validation. I suppose he felt so confident in himself and in the job that he was doing that he didn’t feel he needed to hear it from the boss. And it was true, he was excellent at what he did. Less than 6 months later, my co-worker left the job because he was dissatisfied.

Now, I’m not saying that the reason why my co-worker left was because no one told him he was doing a good job (even though he said he didn’t need to hear this), because I think the issue was far more complicated. But what if that was a factor in his overall dissatisfaction? What if he had been told that he was doing excellent work and had been made to feel he was an invaluable asset to the organization? Would that have made him more likely to stay?

Pushing to work harder, to be more productive, often with less, can burnout even the most competent and hardworking. We need to feel rewarded for the work we do. Money usually works quite well. But if there’s no budget for raises or big fat bonuses, words of thanks can go a long way and it doesn’t cost a dime. And when our employer has the personality of a Dilbert cartoon, or if we’re self-employed, we depend on our co-workers and customers for appreciation and recognition of our work. Appreciation can come in the form of referrals, testimonials, links, coffee and bagels, or a simple expression of praise; its what keeps the fire burning to work harder and better.

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