Recognition is a funny animal. Author Ken Blanchard says, “The last applause most people got was at their high school graduation.” How sad is that? I mean, think about it. When’s the last time someone applauded you that didn’t involve tripping over something and landing on your face?
I have plenty of co-workers who applaud me from the back of the room when I’m on stage and can’t say the word perpetuity in one shot. Mastering that word is a lot like parallel parking, if you get it on one shot, you throw your hands up and say, “That’s right! One time baby!” OK, maybe that’s just me. I do have the advantage of having groups of people applaud me after I speak. Although, I can’t ever figure out if it’s because I was good—or because I was leaving. I dunno.
It’s not hard for me to remember what it was like working at a company where the occasional applause never happened. It was a happy day when my leader realized it had been a while since he had told any of his team members, “Good job.” He would come out of his office and have that look on his face like he just spun the Wheel of Fortune in his head with all of our names on it. “Ah! LoCurto, you’re doing a good job. Keep it up.” Then, you could see the pencil in his head check that task off his list for the week. If that’s you, WHY DO YOU WORK WITH PEOPLE?!
Do you remember when you were a little kid, and you so badly wanted your dad or mom to put their arm around you and tell you how special you were? Or your first day of a new school when you hoped you could make at least one friend? Or the numerous times you wished your brother would quit pinning you down by putting his knees on your arms and torturing you for what seemed like your entire pre-teen life? Just me again?
The truth is, we all want to be accepted for who we are and recognized for our talents and abilities. Nobody likes the guy who recognizes you by checking it off the task list in his head. Instead, we all would like someone to put their arm around our neck and tell us how amazing we are. We want a person to tell us that we’re special and just how proud they are of us. Okay, I can hear the tough folks out there saying, “I don’t need that sissy stuff!” Oh yes you do … and it’s not sissy.
It’s called affection. And if you don’t recognize it, you probably haven’t received it in a while. What’s sad is that so many people haven’t felt that pat on the back, heard the sincere voice of appreciation, or heard applause that didn’t require them eating 10 tacos in under a minute for so long that they don’t realize how many people around them haven’t either.
There are people on your team, in your leadership and within your family and friends who are starved for recognition. And while it’s highly possible you’re not receiving the recognition you deserve right now, you have the choice to break that cycle. Spend a few moments thinking of some of the amazing things your team members, spouse and children have done lately and go tell them about it. Who knows—they might just recognize you back.
Question: What’s your favorite way someone showed appreciation for you??