Why we need appreciation (not just recognition) at work

Earlier this month I came across a great talk by Mike Robbins, and I have found myself regularly reflecting on his key messages. As Mike explains, recognition and appreciation are related concepts, but they are not exactly the same. But very importantly, human beings need both of them!

He says ‘recognition is positive feedback based on results or performance’ – it is about what you do.

Appreciation is more about ‘recognising people’s value; (its) about who we are‘.

In this video, Mike talks about his experience as a professional sports person, and how these experiences have helped him differentiate these very important concepts. Sometimes there was a game where he didn’t play so well. Some days he didn’t quite meet his performance expectations as a baseball pitcher, but he tried and did his best. Those times were very public, trying times. The nature of that sport is such that everyone knew when the pitcher was replaced!

On those occasions, Mike wasn’t looking for recognition; in his mind, he didn’t deserve it anyway. But what he wanted, and needed – and often didn’t get, was some appreciation, not of what he had achieved, but for himself as a team member. What he wished someone in those times would have asked him was…

“Is there anything you need right now? Is there anything I can do to support you?”

Appreciation is about people. Recognition is about results. Appreciation is about gratitude.

In this talk, Mike shares some interesting statistics:

  • that when people feel recognised, they are 23% more effective. Recognition is an important motivator.
  • He also shares that when people feel valued, appreciated and cared about by their direct manager, they are 43% more effective.

He also shares that the number one factor influencing high performance in teams is psychological safety, which is basically trust at a group level. When we feel we can trust each other, that we can make mistakes, that we can have conflict…we do better at work. And as Mike explains, sharing what we appreciate and are grateful for about our colleagues, helps create more psychological safety.

Simple ideas – but they make a huge difference!

So…what do you do?

Do you differentiate between recognition and appreciation? And do you make appreciation a regular, genuine part of your leadership practice?

Visit youtube to see the Video – 16.42mins

Stay to the end to hear the story about the card…it shows you how important some gestures are. Another ‘marble in the jar’

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