You need your work to be recognized? Don’t expect it from your boss, do it yourself!
Receiving a positive stroke or feedback is a human need. Everybody needs it and may suffer from the lack of praising from their boss, organization or even from their subordinates.
No matter how high you rise in the hierarchy you still need it. Providing positive feedback is usually rare in organizations. When I am coaching top manager, I often observe that it tends to disappear completely with executive positions. Therefore the more responsibilities you have, the less praise you get. Is it because CEO or executive managers are too busy or because at that level you are not expected to need it anymore?
Indeed, positive strokes and feedback are needed to fill your bucket with signals that acknowledge what you have done well. Even top leaders need to know if their achievements are valued by their boss, if they took the good decision and if their efforts were noticed.
Lacking positive feedback may have a negative impact on managers’ well-being and performance. Leaders may start to doubt their skills, hesitate to make decisions, lose their self-confidence, question their abilities and results, disengaged themselves and be frustrated.
Nevertheless, giving positive feedback is not such an easy art! Depending on our cultural background, our education and our personal beliefs, it may be difficult to express gratitude in an explicit way. Some managers may feel embarrassed about praising their staff or may be afraid not to sound sincere. Other leaders just forget about it, as they don’t think it is a crucial element.
To deal with your need to be recognized and the frustration that may result from the lack of positive feedback, just remember the following rule: Stop expecting it from others and start doing it yourself!
Here are three tips to be practiced regularly:
- Learn to self acknowledge your achievements, your work, your good practices, your efforts and small successes. Do it consciously and regularly by stepping back to reflect. Take 3 minutes to first, list all those facts and then, to express gratitude to yourself. Knowing more or less unconsciously that you are doing great is something, but taking time to pose and tell it to yourself loudly, is something very different and much more powerful.
- Learn how to auto-generate a system that can provide you with your need for recognition and acknowledgment. Create and activate your own automatic garden hose! Make sure to seize all the opportunities that occur and create occasions to receive feedback or stroke. For example, establish in your one to one meetings, a two minutes routine where you give to and receive from your subordinate one positive feedback. Or, once a month, ask all your subordinates (including yourself) to write down positive feedback to every team member. So as, every person will receive as much positive feedback as the number of peers. This way, you feed yourself and you serve your team at the same time.
- Give more value to little signals. Remember that giving positive feedback is not an easy art for all managers. Thus, learn to read between the lines and to feed yourself. For example, a manager who is asking his boss what he thought about his job, may be frustrated to hear such an answer: “don’t worry everything is ok otherwise I will tell you”. Despite being frustrating, we can interpret it positively, as it gives the indirect signs that the manager is happy with the collaboration. On the other hand, this behavior shows that it’s not always easy for a manager to explicitly provide positive feedback!
Are you ready to experiment and self-feed your need for recognition? It worth a try!