By: Gayle Abbott

Remember the Best Seller Summit at the Hollywood Roosevelt and the insights it gave us that so many people really do value and crave being recognized and valued. Today we’re going to look at what we’ve heard from employees as well as practical actions we encourage you to consider.

Employees have often shared with us that they just don’t feel valued or appreciated for the strengths they bring to the team and organization as a whole. Instead they feel ignored or beaten up for the little things they do wrong. Humans want to learn and grow. We have blind spots and we don’t know what we don’t know. That being said, in order to grow and hear feedback on how they can do better individuals need to feel and know that you sincerely care. This only happens when you have also been giving positive reinforcement for what they do well and situations they handle well. Then, when you give developmental feedback and coaching on where they have opportunities to learn, improve and grow it doesn’t feel like someone’s beating them up but that someone is truly interested in their gaining the new competencies they need to move ahead. It’s two-fold – Give & Take – Positives & Areas for Improvement.

The above makes it seem easier and more prescriptive than you might experience. Each person, based on their behavioral style, is able to hear what someone else says only when it is done in a way that works for them. Also, while some people do well with formal, visible recognition others are more motivated by sincere, low profile recognition. Learning how individual preferences and motivators affect a person can exponentially increase the results you get when you give recognition and feedback.

Another factor that affects how you give recognition and reinforcement is your cognitive valuing perspective. If an individual has a lower understanding others with a negative bias especially when combined with a high practical thinking or even a high systems judgment they just don’t clearly see or focus on the need of individuals to feel appreciated. With this combination the focus is on getting the task done. People are not seen for their uniqueness but are seen or treated as “tools” to accomplish the task at hand. In fact, if you have this combination you have probably been coming up with a number of reasons as to why everything we’ve said above is “hogwash”. With this combination it’s more natural to see what someone is not doing or doing wrong (because of the focus on the task) than to see or understand the individual and their unique needs and contributions. It’s easy to give improvement feedback but seems unproductive, inefficient and catering to overly emotional whims to focus on recognition and making them feel good. Interestingly enough depending on your internal cognitive valuing factors (your sense of self, role awareness and self direction) you may yourself value positive recognition and rewards for what you do. Unfortunately, this causes others to see you as hypocritical and self-serving. This can make your employees even less motivated or engaged.

While we’ve framed the above in the context of managers the concepts don’t just apply to managers. They also apply peer to peer and to people working together on teams. The verbal pat on the back of the person you are working with on a project let’s them know that you respect them as a unique person and value the contribution they are making. It lets them know that you see them as a unique individual and at a subconscious level makes them more committed to working effectively with you. It also allows you to give feedback in a courteous, respectful manner because you aren’t just ignoring them then beating them up.

Our experience with the best seller summit showed how people with all different styles, motivators and cognitive valuing processes were willing to take time from work and family and incur all the related travel expenses to learn more, be recognized and be around others who were succeeding.

• How can you proactively catch people doing things right?
• What are some ways you can better acknowledge and show respect for the big or little ways that each individual working with you adds value or does something really well?
• What do you think could be the effect on performance if you started acknowledging the good while still practicing honest coaching and feedback?
• How can you better leverage the insights from your TriMetrix HD assessment results, to take your success to the next level?
• How can you use these insights to create a stronger more cohesive team/ organization that runs and communicates like a well-oiled machine?
• Why do you think awards events like the Emmy’s, Academy Awards, Football Hall of Fame, and others attract so much attention. Whether it’s them or not people have a desire to be and connect with those who are recognized