Ministry Resources

Recognition and Praise

Author: Angela Craig

In my last blog, I asked the question: Do you get enough recognition?

The answer was a resounding NO. Not only did our community respond that they don’t get enough recognition, they admitted with humility and transparency, the areas of life and leadership they have not given recognition.

In the blog, Psychology Today – Evolution of the Self, Dr. Leon Seltzer explains the importance of recognition.

Assuming that you’re like the majority of us, wishing (maybe even yearning) to be explicitly recognized for what you do relates to the fact that validation from others just feels good. Reaching all the way back to childhood and your need for your parents’ reassurance and approval, being acknowledged by others helps you feel more accepted and secure. And, consequently, more comfortable inside yourself. More important still, such recognition assists you in perceiving yourself as desirable, valuable, and esteemable. In a word, special.

If you are one of us who feels you do not get enough recognition, or you think you could do better in the area of giving recognition, it will help you to examine the reasons why people do not give recognition.

Here are 5 reasons people withhold recognition and praise:

  • The belief that a pay check is enough recognition. Many employers and team leaders believe that if a person does what is expected, financial compensation should be enough. This is not true. The #1 reason people leave jobs is not for money, but for more acknowledgement for their work.
  • Busyness. For recognition to be effective in the lives of those you work with and play with, it must be consistent and timely. Being tired and busy obviously impairs consistency and timeliness. Being intentional about planning recognition is imperative to your success as a leader.
  • Competition and comparison. The competency of others can be a threat to my ego. Why would I want to tell them how great they are when they are already know they are better than everyone else?
  • We are unaware of the value the person brings to the team. When we don’t do someone’s job, it can be hard to know what to recognize them for. We may have assumptions that are unfounded and untrue. Getting to know the people you work with is the most important thing you can do. It will increase collaboration and help you achieve your organizational goals.
  • The language of recognition is learned. It is hard to give what you have not received. If you never had a parent or other influential adults give you praise when you grew up, it may be hard for you to give it to others as an adult. Or if a parent told you that praise would go to your head, and they wanted to teach you humility, you may also find yourself silent when it comes to recognizing others for their achievements.

Innately, you were created to receive and to give recognition. Understanding the obstacles to praise can help you become more intentional about recognizing those around you. Even more important, it will help you understand what hold others back. When we know what holds people captive from giving recognition, we understand the truth – it is more about them than it is about us. This makes the silence much easier to take.

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