Category Archives: Values

Appreciation: The Heart of Recognition

When it comes to the role of recognition in the workplace, the knowledge base is clear: we human beings want to be appreciated and valued in the work we do.

Recognition, though, is only as good as the spirit that animates it. As a fundamentally above-the-line behavior, recognition can be disingenuous as easily as it can be sincere, perfunctory as easily as heartfelt.

It must therefore be rooted in below-the-line qualities of spirit such as gratitude and appreciation if it is to be meaningful to employees.

Leaders who wish to more effectively recognize employees, then, must begin by taking a candid look at the fundamental beliefs and values shaping their own behavior.

Do I have a sincere and personal appreciation for the contribution of employees? Do I genuinely feel gratitude for the work they do? Do I have a truly appreciative heart?

The answers to these questions will go a long way in determining how effective your efforts at recognition will be.

Appreciation is not only critical to effective leadership, it is far more so than many leaders realize. In our consulting work we have gone so far as to tell leaders that if they do not sincerely appreciate their employees, they should get out of the business of leadership altogether.

We say this not to be harsh or condemnatory, but simply because  recognition is far too important to be marginalized or trivialized. 

This importance stems in large part from the fact that, to the recipient, recognition is invariably personal. Plans and projects might be what people end up talking about but we are the ones doing a good job. We are the ones contributing to a program. We are the ones being thanked and valued.

Recognition is therefore an issue fundamentally concerned with people, not tasks. It is an acknowledgment of contributions made, but in a deeper sense it is an acknowledgment of the value and worth of an individual him- or herself.

And much as we all want to be recognized for what we do, we want even more we want to be appreciated for who we are.

This is true of our employees, our friends, our coworkers, our family, and ourselves. It is a universal human desire. And because it is such a personal issue, no one will be satisfied with a supervisor who does not value their efforts and recognize their contributions.

Crafting Vision, Finding Vision

Given how frequently the word finds its way into discourse in management circles, it is worth considering what vision is and where it actually comes from. What is the genesis of a vibrant and compelling sense of organizational vision? It is not uncommon to hear people speak about creating or crafting vision. Such sentiments are… Continue Reading

Employees, Donkeys, and Getting Things Done

In some ways, motivation is less complicated than one might imagine. Involving people in decisions that impact them, recognizing the value of their contributions, giving them opportunities to assume responsibility in meaningful ways — study after study has shown the importance of factors like these. Yet countless workplaces fail to supply such sources of motivation.… Continue Reading

Who You Are, Not What You Do

Much of what we think of as the business of business takes place externally. Tangible activities like striking deals, formulating plans and launching initiatives fill our days and constitute the prism through which we view and understand our work life. But business authorities, academics, and thinkers have long suggested that the most fertile field for… Continue Reading

Discipline and the Reflective Life

Consider the word “discipline” for a moment.  In one sense it refers to a subject or a course of study. Within the context of the discipline of reflective leadership, the material to be mastered includes the principles of the human knowledge base and our ability to reflect on how our choices and behaviors, as perceived… Continue Reading

Building Blocks of Reflective Leadership – Determination

Building reliable habits of personal reflection is not easy. Like mastering any new skill, learning to hang the mirror involves no small amount of setbacks and failure. We might maintain a sense of objectivity for a time, then lose it at a bad turn of events or sharp verbal jab. We might restrain emotional responses… Continue Reading

Building Blocks of Reflective Leadership – Humility

Few spheres of human activity are more driven by “results” than the world of business. Visible success is the coin of the realm, and confidence, bravado, even self-aggrandizement are pervasive. Humility, then, stands as a somewhat counter-intuitive characteristic of truly outstanding leaders. Humility is certainly one of the more nuanced facets of leadership. In part, this has… Continue Reading

Building Blocks of Reflective Leadership – Detachment

All of us are attached to particular views of the world and given ways of approaching it. We know that a project is pointless and we have no time for those who think otherwise. We know that a favored employee is a gem, regardless of performance reviews suggesting the contrary. We have our positions and,… Continue Reading

Leadership, Mindfulness, and Meditation

How many times have you been in the car, wrapped in thoughts of the day, and found yourself driving somewhere other than where you intended? Defaulting to familiar routines in the absence of conscious thought has uses in life, not the least enabling us to navigate a highly multitasking world. But “auto piloting” in the… Continue Reading

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