Respect, Recognition, and Appreciation Matter. | Assessing Your Give and Take

Self-esteem can be pretty fragile.appreciation 4759535950_7bca6684c8_m

Each of us has the ability to pump up another person’s self-esteem or scar it.

A lot goes into developing and maintaining pride in ourselves, especially considering our personal and situational obstacles.

So we need to be caring.

Make others matter.

Most of us crave positive feedback. We want to know in concrete ways that our bosses and coworkers:

  • respect our talents, good intentions, and integrity
  • recognize the contributions we make to the success of the team and company
  • appreciate our efforts, kindnesses, and selflessness

Others want what we want. The question is: “Are we giving it?”

  • To everyone?
  • Just to people we like or who are like us?
  • To those we feel we need to “repay”?

The esteem we show to others is good for us. It’s how we create a bond that:

  • builds dependable relationships
  • helps coworkers try harder
  • develops confidence to overcome challenges
  • buoys up courage to take risks
  • creates community

In all likelihood, the esteem we show to others comes back to us in subtle and sometimes surprising ways.

Respect, recognition, and appreciation are equalizers. They say to the recipient, “I value you” for your:

  • skills and work quality
  • honesty and integrity
  • kindness and generosity
  • dependability and decency

Value is personal not positional.

None of us can do every job that needs to be done. Just look around where you live and count the number of things you can’t build, fix, or solve.

Then look around your company and count the number of jobs you aren’t qualified to do from the top of the organization chart to the bottom.

The only way all of us can live the lives we want is for everyone around us to do their jobs well. For that we all need to express our gratitude.

Assess yourself.

Consider the way you engage with craftsmen you hire at work or at home. Assess the amount of effort you put into expressing respect for their expertise, recognition of the challenges of the work, and appreciation for the outcome.

In my experience, a unique alliance forms, a strategic partnership, and shared engagement in the work where the results exceed the expectations of you both.

I recently accumulated a pretty long list of big and small jobs long overdue at my farm where the buildings were built from 1780 to 1900. The jobs ranged from releasing a frozen pocket door in the house to replacing light fixtures in the barn; from painting and repairing a large shed to replacing slates with shingles in the back of the house. There was other “little” stuff too.

Kirk, the expert in charge, is a one-time home builder, an inventor, and one of the most well-read people know. He took on my work solo because I was his last client in PA before moving to the mid-west.

There was nothing about this work that was easy. At every turn there were problem-solving challenges and surprises. It required:

  • electrical work and some plumbing
  • remodeling and construction
  • roofing, painting, and repair

Kirk says what he thinks, never sugar-coating anything. And he’s not a big giver or receiver of compliments. But he accepted my communicated regard for his expertise and willingness to help when needed.

I had been his customer before, so he knew that I respected him. Ultimately, he told me that he wouldn’t have taken on this wild array of jobs for anyone else. That was a gift for my self-esteem.

It was not about what I was paying him: It was about my respect, recognition, and appreciation.

 As you sow…

Treating people well is about recognizing their value and making that known. At work it’s easy to see our coworkers as just another pair of hands. Any time you treat others in a way that says, “You matter,” you are giving them a priceless gift which will, in time, come back to you.

Photo by woodleywonderworks via Photoree




6 thoughts on “Respect, Recognition, and Appreciation Matter. | Assessing Your Give and Take

  1. Absolutely true. I go to a small coffee shop. Mostly they do a fabulous job. Once in a while they make mistakes but they are always ready to fix them. I don’t focus on the errors but on the really great service I get and tell them so. It makes a difference to them. It doesn’t matter if you run the company or carry the mail you always want to hear that you are appreciated.

  2. This is an important post Dawn. In this busy, fast-paced world the compliment, the validation for a job well done is too often overlooked. I’m aware of the difference in treatment I get at the always-busy coffee shop and grocery store I go to in VA simply because I smile and return their “have a nice day”. It’s so simple.

    I liked the following important list you identified.

    The esteem we show to others is good for us. It’s how we create a bond that:

    builds dependable relationships
    helps coworkers try harder
    develops confidence to overcome challenges
    buoys up courage to take risks
    creates community

    • I love your comment! You’re so right, “it’s so simple” to acknowledge that others matter. We can make our lives so much nicer if we forget “me me me” and focus on “you you you!”

      Thanks so much for your kind words about the post and for singling out the bond building elements. You always add so much in your comments. Best, ~Dawn

  3. Oh wow, this was posted the day I filled for age discrimination,
    We are not ever here to fail ,
    Why then do some bosses look to failings as their filament for failure?

    Working at a job one likes , gets cut short. When the boss removes the hiring freeze , see others with potential , and losses all that you have shined through.

    So he adds and subtracts , till your minuses ousted you.

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