by Traci Pesch
Recognize This! – Simply expressing to others they are appreciated and important powerfully and positively impacts both the giver and receiver of the praise.
How do you change someone’s perspective of themselves? How do you change your own perspective of yourself and your mission? One step – recognize someone. Celebrate the good in them. Tell them how they are special, how what they do matters.
It really is that simple. The act of recognition – both giving and receiving – fulfills a basic human need, the need to be noticed. The need to be seen. The need to be of value to others and to be valued by others. Take a 6-minute positivity break and watch this video of teachers telling students they are important and appreciated.
Wow. Powerful. I admit it – I welled up a bit watching that. Why? It’s the faces and the reaction of the students who are the recipients of the messages of praise and appreciation. You can see their faces and entire demeanor change in an instant from cautious “What did I do wrong?” to blushing “Really? I didn’t know I had that impact on you.”
And it’s precisely that nuance of the message of appreciation that’s so important. Every message was not just “Thank you. You do good work.” Every message included the important specific element of, “You are the reason I come in every day to do my job. You inspire me. You make my work have value and meaning.”
That’s a critical lesson for us in our jobs, too. Yes, praise and thanks are important. Even more so are the personal, sincere and specific messages of how someone made a difference and how they and their efforts had a lasting impact.
This positivity project worked by focusing on the human experience. Jamie McSparin, the teacher behind the project said in an interview, “It started that dialogue between teachers and students, which humanizes the whole experience. It’s not, ‘Here, I’m teaching you.’ It’s ‘Let’s build a relationship and make this an experience.’”
We all need that reminder. We’re not working with robots, but with humans. What fuels humans? Interaction. Relationships with others. A sense of greater meaning and purpose. Experiencing work and life together. (That’s a large factor of the research resulting in the new IBM/Globoforce Employee Experience Index announced at HRTech – a positive employee experience requires trust, relationships, meaningful work, recognition, empowerment and balance. Read the report.)
Who would you recognize in your workplace? Who inspires you to get out of bed in the morning? What is it about them and their work that makes a difference? Most importantly, when are you going to tell them?