Acknowledgement Goes a Long Way

A Little Acknowledgement Goes A Long Way

“Keep up the great work”, “Well done in that meeting”, “Thank You”, “I appreciate you.”  They’re nice words, aren’t they?  Just going back and reading those words again makes me feel good.  But how often do we hear them?  Or more importantly, how often do we say them?  Acknowledgment is one of those things that you don’t think about until you notice it’s missing.

Easily Forgotten

Recently, I met with a coaching client who wants to search for new career opportunities.  The issue?  Lack of acknowledgement. For the past eight years, she devoted her heart and soul to her work — building a new team for the organization.  Often she took on additional responsibilities, initiated new programs, mentored young people, raised capital, and was fiercely supportive of the organization’s mission.  She had great pride in her work.  To make things worst, she never received a word of appreciation or acknowledgement for her efforts from the leadership team.

The Bottom Line

Acknowledgment is easily forgotten, but can be a powerful tool in recognizing you as a great leader who inspires and motivates others.

Respect, Acknowledgement, and Recognition

Acknowledgment is defined both as expressing the existence of something, and as expressing or displaying the appreciation for something or someone.  Both acknowledgement and appreciation go hand in hand. Just like in my coaching client’s experience, all she wanted was an expression of gratitude for her contributions.  As a result, performance and morale have bottomed.

Studies show that 82% of people say the most important aspect of their professional lives is that their company leader (aka boss) values and respects them.  According to Gallup, leaders who acknowledge others and appreciate their work are the ones who get followed.  

So what’s the best way to work appreciation into your leadership routine?

7 Ways to Effectively Communicate Positive Recognition

  1. Be timely.  When someone does an exceptional job let them know right away.
  2. Be authentic, not automatic.  You have to mean it, when you give recognition.
  3. Be sincere. Do it when you really appreciate something.
  4. Be specific.  It’s the little details of what the employee did that adds value.  General recognition comes across as insincere.
  5. Be personal.  Always do it in person, not via email or text.
  6. Be positive.  Don’t be critical at the same time.  Avoid words like ‘but’.
  7. Be proactive. Look for the good in your people and don’t wait for perfection.

Remember this, a little acknowledgement goes a long way.  Let your employees know they are valued today and every day.  



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  • Betsy / May 31, 2018 at 5:38 am

    I met my husband when we worked together many years ago. At that time he was not a manager, just another person on our team, but he had business cards printed that just said “Good Job!” When something went well (which didn’t happen often in those early days of computing!) we’d get a “Good job!” card.

    • Peg Calvario / June 1, 2018 at 3:35 pm

      Love the “Good Job” card and what a meaningful and personal way to acknowledge a fellow team member. Thanks for sharing!

  • Barbara S Kaplan / July 1, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Peg, this is so right on. It is predicted that by 2020, clients will hire folks based first and foremost upon the customer experience – how it FEELS to work with them – at each touchpoint. It won’t be about result or performance, but about whether or not they like and trust you. Your points are perfect in that context.

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