Want more appreciation at work? Here's 4 steps to get some.

Feel like you're working your butt off ... but no one is really paying attention?

Or, maybe all the feedback you get is negative...and there's no mention about what you're actually doing well?

So many folks come to me with this complaint. And it sucks.

Not being appreciated feels pretty crumby and can easily lead to resentment, which can lead to not giving your 100%, which can lead to fantasies of working elsewhere.

So before you start interviewing...or worse, let your performance suffer...try this!

Figure out what kind of appreciation you really want...and (gasp) ASK FOR IT!

Not all appreciation is created equal. We have to get specific about Who, What, When, Where, and How. Seriously.

1. Clarify WHO you want appreciation from. This may seem obvious...but maybe not.

  • One of my clients (an engineer) wanted feedback from her VP. I asked my client about her VP's experience and it turns out that she's more sales oriented than engineering. Aha! My client realized that  she wanted technical feedback from her colleagues instead of her boss. Her boss was actually incapable of giving her what she wanted.
  • Who do you want to recognize your work? Maybe it's not your boss but your manager's boss, your colleagues, your industry, the media, or your family and friends at home.

2. Now think about the HOW.
This may feel awkward...but it's VITAL to nail the forms of appreciation that matter most to you.

  • I worked with a manager who thought he was appreciating his employee by giving her bigger responsibilities. It turns out that she was feeling punished instead of recognized.

Let's figure out HOW you want to be recognized so it actually boosts your motivation instead of taking it away. Do you want someone to...

  • Tell you how well you did verbally
  • Write about it in an email
  • Buy you a gift  
  • Offer you a growth opportunity ("Why don't you join the leadership committee")
  • Give you a raise

3. Where and When would you like this recognition?
Yes, we're getting that specific. Only because your boss or whoever it is, is not a mind reader. And what may seem like common sense to you - is not.

  • Do you want this done publicly?
  • Do you want this privately?
  • When is an ideal time? And how frequently do you want it? After each time you report the monthly stats? At your weekly one-on-one's? Casually, each time she notices something you've done well?

4. Now ask for it
Gulp. This may be the hardest part for most people. It's vulnerable. And no one wants to come off as needy or whiney. So how do you ask for positive feedback and appreciation while keeping your pride?

  • Set up a meeting or add an agenda item to a standing meeting (don't just mention this during your elevator ride out to lunch).
  • "Is it okay with you if we spend 5-10 minutes talking about how I'm doing - I have some ideas I want to run past you."
    • Remember, you're doing them a favor.
  • This is about how you can be an even greater contributor - and you're helping your boss (or whoever) get more value out your performance. You're also saving them potentially a ton of money and time by not quitting. So frame it that way, gently.
  • "I'm dedicated to giving company ABC my 100%. I'm so excited for us to nail our quarterly goal! And I'm grateful for your leadership and mentorship in helping me grow."
    • Then acknowledge how their constructive or negative feedback is useful:
  • "It's useful when you give me tips on how to improve and I'm working on those areas regularly (for example...)."
    • Now make your specific request of What, Where, When, & How:
  • "Some information that I feel I'm missing (in order to really excel), is to know the areas where I'm doing well. For example, can you tell me where I'm meeting or exceeding your expectations?"
  • "Knowing those kinds of data points would help me be an greater performer ..."
  • "Because not only would I continue to transform my weaknesses, but I could deepen my strengths." 
  • "Would it be possible for us to this more regularly? For example, just to use use two minutes of our one-on-one time for me to hear from you - what about my performance that week met your expectations, or exceeded your expectations in addition to any suggestions for how I can approve?"
  • That's it! You got this. If you try this, please reply and let me know how it goes! And if you've tried to get positive feedback through other strategies - please share!


    Stella GrizontComment