The 5 Levels of Irresponsibility

turkey-profile-picture-bird-53460The 5 Levels of Irresponsibility (a step by step guide on how to be a Turkey at work)

Level 1 – Begin to understand only what you need to know to get by.

  • Figure out how to do things just well enough that others won’t notice your shortcuts.
  • Just do what everyone else is doing, don’t make waves­­­­­­­­­­­­­­.
  • If you’re not sure, just do what makes sense to you.

Level 2 – Make sure no one can point a finger at you, cover your tracks.

  • Sometimes this means twisting the truth a little or claiming ignorance “I didn’t know…”
  • Protect your appearance of importance at all cost; don’t take the blame for anything…ever!
  • “Look, if you want more out of me, you will need to pay me more”
  • Don’t let anyone else get more favor from the boss than you. That’s your territory, protect it at all cost.

Level 3 – Make sure everyone else is being responsible so they don’t cause you more work.

  • Don’t do any more than what the others are doing. It’s not fair that I do more than them!
  • As long as you aren’t any worse than everyone else, you can claim that you are just doing what they do.
  • “It’s not my fault that he did what he saw me do, I didn’t make him do it”

Level 4 – Make sure others fully understand the chain of command.

  • Entitlement – “I am the boss, it’s my way or the highway!” or “Do you see my badge? What does it say?”
  • Representation – “My boss doesn’t get it! I’m not doing all that extra stuff; I will do it my way!”
  • Tolerance – Let them keep getting away with crap,  so you don’t have to confront them. Confrontation is never good; don’t want to upset the apple cart.
  • Servanthood – Make sure you are in control and well served. You deserve to reap. the rewards for making it to the top. “It’s good to be the king!”
  • Delegation – Get others to do the stuff you don’t want to do. You have power now so use it!

Level 5 – Takes credit for the success, but certainly not for failure of a group or organization.

  • Commitment – “I will do this as long as it doesn’t impede on my personal life or get too hard.”
  • Leverage – Hire only when in serious need, try not to lose anyone or you will then have to start interviewing again.
  • Fortitude – “If it gets too hard, I can always move on and get another job: The grass is always greener.
  • Accountability – “I just don’t want to be blamed for anything. I don’t know if my self esteem can handle that”
  • Stand your Grownd – “I am not changing for anyone!” “This is how I have always done it and how I want’ to do it”
  • Validation – “Look what I did!”

Great leadership is contagious!  Unfortunately, so is bad leadership.

When I was a child…

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1Co 13:11

Have you ever met anyone that is a full fledged grown up in age, but has not been able to put ways of childhood behind them, someone stuck in time, paralyzed, lost in the world?  Of course you have. They are everywhere.  If you haven’t, you likely are that person. I was.

I remember when I became a man.  It wasn’t when I turned 18.  It wasn’t when I moved out, or paid rent on my own for the first time.  It wasn’t even when I got my first real job, or had my first long term relationship.

When I was 23 years old I remember how I viewed the world in great detail. I had been burned, had a serious attitude toward life and justified it vigorously.

There were three principles that were most important to me.

  1. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Take what you can get.
  2. You can only really trust yourself, everyone else will always let you down.
  3. It’s my life, I will live it how I want! Get off my back!

These three principles became my hiding place in my early adulthood.  They gave me direction (pleasure seeking), protected me from harm (other people) and made me the king of my world (It’s all about Me).  I was a pretty good thinker so I was able to stave off any threat that came along with my witt and ability to argue.  My guards were up and I was a self-preservation machine.  My artistic and deceptive skills allowed me to create a ficade of my life.  I wore whatever mask I needed at the time, and became what I needed, to get what I wanted.  Reality was something to mold, twist and make a slave out of.  Perception was reality, and deception was the way to change reality.

The Crash

And then it all caught up to me at once.  My world came crashing down in a pile of rubble.  Like waking up from a dream or experiencing sight for the first time, I realized that the earth didn’t really revolve around me. It was the greatest most painful loss, and at the same time the biggest sense of relief.

I took a long hard honest look at my life for the first time ever. I was ambarrassed and ashamed of the blindspots that everyone else already knew. I seemed I was the last to find out. I had been exposed.

I took a long look at myself, and here is what I discovered. My worldview was all wrong.  Here are some of the the values I had come to embrace throughout my life:

  • I must let nothing be my fault as to remain blameless.
  • I must allow myself a way out of any situation in case it gets difficult (avoid commitment).
  • I must hold everyone accountable for how they have hurt me.
  • I must be in control of the situation, and not be controlled by the situation or anyone.
  • I must convince everyone of my impressiveness so they will respect me.
  • I must hide my flaws so no one can criticize or look down on me.
  • I must expect grace for my actions, and justice for everyone elses.
  • I must not think about my problems or acknowledge they exist so I don’t have to deal with them.

I realized that I was eating and drinking and being marry to avoid committing to anything.  Committment requires trust.  I didn’t trust anyone, because that would mean I needed to be a person that could be trusted.  I was living life how I wanted because I didn’t want to be held accountable.  I was avoiding responsibility in most every way.

I realized that the worldview that I had embraced, that I thought was serving me, was actually waging war against my soul.  It became clear to me that seeking to serve my own needs left all my needs unmet.

It was that day that I decided I was going to put the ways of childhood behind me.   I was about to begin a brand new life of adulthood.

Because Jesus Christ took 100% responsibility for my sin, I was able to became 100% responsible for my life.  Not only my actions and bahavior, but also my thoughts and emotions.  No longer was I going to allow my circumstances to control my thoughts and keep me in emotional imaturity.  For the first time it wasn’t about self-preservation, pride or impressiveness.

I discovered a different set of principles to live by:

  • I must make no excuses for my actions, thoughts and sins.
  • I must embrace reality (truth) and live by it, rather than distorting it.
  • I must committ myself fully to people and responsibilities given to me.
  • I must forgive everyone who hurt me and expect nothing in return.
  • I must be transparent and humble. For when I am weak, I am strong.
  • I must be responsible for only what I can control, and patient with what I cannot control.
  • I must earn respect through putting others needs before my own.
  • I must expose my sin, purge it from my life and experience freedom.
  • I must live fully accountable for my actions.
  • I must face my fears and perservere through the obsticles holding me back.
  • I must surrender in order to have victory.

I still fall short, but now I am more aware and have a savior to vouch for me.

Give me a call, let’s chat. 319.930.1045 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Judge a Book By its Color

I just spent four wonderful days at the International Maxwell Certification Conference in Orlando Fla.  The leaders of the John Maxwell Team and Johns Leadership teaching are a magnet for quality individuals.  There were 2600 people from all over the world and I didn’t meet one I didn’t like (and I met lots).  Many dozens if not a hundreds countries were represented.  Every kind of clothing from 3 piece suits, cowboy boots, bright African colors and even high-top sneakers were on display, even a guy wearing a kilt. There was a mutual respect among everyone there.  I made a few friends from around the world that I really connected with. 

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After a few days connecting with dozens of people from every corner of the earth, I saw on a TV in the background some news commentators discussing the Charlottesville incident.   It hit me, I realized that not one person in any discussion I was part of all weekend had talked about racism .  That was so refreshing to me.  I get so tired of the media and Facebook crowd bringing so much bad attention to it (angry or bleeding heart).  I really like Morgan Freeman’s take on it.  He was asked in an interview what the answer to racism is, and he said “Stop talking about it”.  I am so glad that is exactly what happened at my conference.  Maybe everyone should try it.  Morgan would have fit in well.

I have done some thinking about that over the past few days and have come up with a few observations that I wanted to share.

Now I don’t deny that racism is real, active and a huge concern in our country, but I believe that so many people of all color are actively pointing their fingers, maybe in the wrong directions. I believe that a very small percentage of people are responsible for a very large percentage of the problem on both sides.  It seems to be causing unnecessary division among great people who do not deserve to be dragged into the fight.  These are people only in the fight in by association because others are pointing at their skin color, no other reason. When we generalize about like people, it covers everyone and it spills over onto innocent people who aren’t asking to be part of it.

The distinction we need to be making is not between color or ethnicity.  It’s a more of a matter of character beliefs based on ones worldview. We need to slice it horizontally and not vertically. It’s a degree of character, not a degree of color. Last weekend showed me that when you get large groups of people of high character together with a common value for human life, race doesn’t seem to matter much.  There is a freedom to enjoy company, share ideas and learn about other interesting culture. We don’t have to question motives because of an infectious idea. A common bond of unity can only come when we view the world through the eyes of a common Creator who created us in his image.  Ideas have consequences, so we need better ideas if we want better character development.

It also seems that when people with a common disregard for human dignity get together in opposition with people of other races with similar questionable values, the chances of tensions rising goes way up.   People of lower character beliefs come in every color, age, gender, religion, economic class and level of education.

Poor character beliefs is a HUMAN trait based on a bad worldview, not a racial, economic, social, political or national trait.  Poor character comes naturally, high character come from intentional growth.

People of poor character are drawing far too much attention and making the rest of their ethnic group (all colors) look bad by generalizing and assuming.  A thief believes that everyone steals.  A cheater believes that everyone cheats and a person who discriminates believes everyone discriminates. Good people see the good in people, bad people see the bad in people.  So, if you believe everyone discriminates, you may be one of them!  

A much smaller number of people are projecting the problem to be wider than it really is by limiting everyone else to their own inside the box, views, and assumptions.

The idea’s and beliefs that each of us hold about the world and what is true determines how we see people.  The choice to love others or hate others is your choice and yours alone.  No one can cause you to hate unless you choose to.  No, exceptions.  Character is shaped by what we choose to believe.  Poor character IS the problem, and DOES separate us. Color is NOT the problem and doesn’t have to separate us.  We need to know the difference and focus on fixing character rather than fixing other colors.

The next time someone discriminates against you for any reason, know that it is the ignorance in them that is causing it, and not the color of their skin.

Don’t judge a book by its color, get to know the author of all colors.
 

Just Do It!

No, this isn’t a Nike promotion. It’s more of a plea for help from a desperate leader.

There are many managers out there that know how to manage stuff, numbers or time, but getting things done through other people, that’s a different story all together.  Delegating tasks or responsibilities to others can be very tricky, if you fail to understand the secret ingredient.  The secret ingredient is not “Because I said so!” even though most of our Mothers may disagree.

Are you a good delegator?

If you exhibit any or several of the following traits, you may not be:

  1. You are always running behind trying to play catchup, never seeming to get ahead.
  2. You don’t check your inbox for days.
  3. People always seem to let you down.
  4. People seem reluctant to be part of your plan, so you let them slide.
  5. Your employees drag their feet when it comes to deadlines.
  6. People usually show themselves not worthy of being trusted.
  7. Your employees try not to get “picked” for a task.
  8. You tend to dump and run, and leave the cleanup duties to someone else.
  9. You delegate only the tasks you don’t have time for.
  10. You often think “it’s just easier to do it myself”.

The missing ingredient

The trick to be an effective delegator is not to get people to do something for you.  It’s to get people to WANT to do something for you.  To do that, it requires two people wanting the same thing.  That’s not easy when the boss is looking out for herself.

The secret ingredient…  Trust.  Yep that’s it.

“The trick to be an effective delegator is not to get people to do something for you.  It’s to get people to WANT to do something for you.”

Think of a spectrum. On one end you have obedience, on the other end you have empowerment.  Obedience requires nothing but following directions and maybe a little fear.  Empowerment on the other hand requires Trust.

Trust & Empowerment

People are glad to take on responsibility for you if they first trust that you have your motives in the right place.  They need to know that you have their best interest in mind as well as the clients.  They will be reluctant if they believe your request is self-serving. The leader must also trust that the delegate is committed to the outcome as they would be, given they are standing in for them. Mutual trust is necessary for seamless delegation to take place.

Second, they need to be empowered to handle the responsibility.  Both you and the delegate need to understand the level of competence required and be confident in the assignment. If not fully competent, assistance and guidance may be needed. This is part of the learning process.

The formula is simple, as trust increases, empowerment increases. When the delegate is empowered and trusted, they tend to take ownership over the results.  They take pride in the quality and timeliness of the task.  It reflects their abilities and where there is trust, you don’t want to disappoint.

This is further illustrated verbally in the following series of instructions.  Notice how it goes from simple following of directions to full empowerment.

Stages of Delegation

  1. “Wait to be told.” or “Do exactly what I say.” or “Follow these instructions precisely.”
  2. “Look into this and tell me the situation. I’ll decide.”
  3. “Look into this and tell me the situation. We’ll decide together.”
  4. “Tell me the situation and what help you need from me in assessing and handling it. Then we’ll decide.”
  5. “Give me your analysis of the situation (reasons, options, pros and cons) and recommendation. I’ll let you know whether you can go ahead.”
  6. “Decide and let me know your decision, and wait for my go-ahead before proceeding.”
  7. “Decide and let me know your decision, then go ahead unless I say not to.”
  8. “Decide and take action – let me know what you did (and what happened).”
  9. “Decide and take action. You need not check back with me.”
  10. “Decide where action needs to be taken and manage the situation accordingly. It’s your area of responsibility now.”

http://www.businessballs.com/delegation.htm#steps

So, the next time you start barking orders out expecting results, keep in mind there may be a better way.

You Were Set Aside For Greatness!

“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
Steve Maraboli

You were set aside for greatness.  Very few people believe that to be true.  Sometimes life experiences, bad worldviews and a misunderstanding about reality paint a different picture of our lives, and our future.  What we think about ourselves matters most, especially concerning what we will accomplish in life and the workplace.

A Crisis in our Workplace

There is something very wrong with our workplace culture today.  People look at work not as opportunity or mission but rather as a necessary evil to stay alive.  Work ethic seems to be at an all-time low as people struggle to find a worthy endeavor to leverage their efforts.  There are many opposing ideas out there telling us that our efforts won’t really matter much, our dreams likely won’t come true no matter what we do.

There seems to be a sense of hopelessness.  It’s not that there are not opportunities, businesses are hiring all over the place. Rather it seems to many there are fewer good opportunities being offered. The key words here “being offered”.

divided(1)James Harter (cbs.com) says -” Of the country’s approximately 100 million full-time employees, 51 percent aren’t engaged at work — meaning they feel no real connection to their jobs, and thus they tend to do the bare minimum. Another 16 percent are “actively disengaged” — they resent their jobs, tend to gripe to co-workers and drag down office morale as a result.”

People feel stuck, like their options have been limited.  For many, what once was a healthy ambition to do something they love, has turned out to be a surrendering, a conforming to the mediocre means.  Our circumstances have shackled many of us and left us with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness, so it seems.

I have also noticed that there are a greater number of people in the marketplace who not only fail to see the future as a place to capitalize on accumulated experience and success, rather a place of darker and more cynical circumstances than the present or past. I think this tends to be based on their perception of depreciating opportunities down the road. As we age, we anticipate diminishing physical and mental skills, but more so we fear falling behind the cultural and technological curve.  It’s like the tractor pull effect, the further you go, the more resistance increases, until you eventually become incapable of maintaining and come to a screeching halt. So many people don’t see any future of retirement or health benefits available to them and they fear how that will play out.

“Blending in” as a Valueblending

We find a sense of comfort in blending in with others around us.  We all long for fellowship with relationships with our fellow man and are willing to compromise much to get it.  It is so much easier to join the crowd, go wherever they go and value what they value. We experience little resistance from others when we stick to cultural trends and speak the language.  In the land of complainers, complaining is the highest form of expression.  Is it any wonder so many people are slave to their surroundings, slave to the path of least resistance, and slave to the imaginary fences that are their circumstances? You will never have to be alone if you choose that path. Ever heard the expression “misery loves company”?

Sometimes we sell out to blend in, and have peace with our surroundings, only to wage war against our very soul that wishes to escape and be free.

Surrendering your Power

When we come to rely on everyone else to present us opportunities for our financial and professional needs, we give all power to everyone else to have our needs met. We become dependent on our surroundings to provide for us.  Dependency on others becomes the constant theme in our lives. Blame becomes our mantra, when the people and environment we depend on let us down.  This is the essence of victim thinking.

If you do not determine your priorities for your life, someone else will.  And believe it or not, they may not have your best interest in mind.

Our circumstances are always temporary, unless you choose to make them permanent by giving your power away. We need to stop putting our future in the hands of everyone else and the circumstances they create for us, and embrace our future as 100% our sole responsibility.  Why should you allow others to put a lid on your potential?

So Where is the Hope?

Titus 3:4-7 NIV “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “…But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Washed to be Set Apart

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are washed and experience rebirth by the Holy Spirit.  We are sanctified or ‘set apart’ for a great mission that includes your whole being.

sactified

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

If you are not a person of faith, the process is still similar in the workplace (but more difficult and not eternal).  Your hope is to change, to be different, to let go or separate yourself from the patterns that you have embraced, and the excuses that are holding you back and keeping you from being effective.

Sanctification is to be set apart, reserved for something.  This is the opposite of blending in or status quo.

2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate”, says the Lord.

God doesn’t necessarily set us apart or change our external circumstances, although he may (see Jonah).  He changes us internally so we can grow and change our own circumstances and help others with theirs.  It’s not about changing where we are.  The grass isn’t any greener if you take your troubles with you.  It’s about a change in who we are, by choosing.

Step Up and Stand Out

 

When we allow, Christ do direct our inner being, we are no longer controlled by, or dependent on the people around us, or our circumstances.  Our true opportunities come when a seed of grace is planted in our hearts by our savior.  This seed creates a burden based on compassion and conviction. It then turns into vision, vision seeks out opportunities to step up and stand out to lead the charge to better ourselves. stand out It inspires us to better our environment, and improve circumstances for everyone.  If no such burden exists, you may want to examine your current ideas and beliefs about the world, and reconsider them considering a grander picture. They may not be adequate to bring about a life of significance.

 

I dare you to step up to the calling that God has created you for, and be willing to stand out among your peers as one set apart for great works of service.  Get up off your couch, turn the TV off, and do something great for someone!

Are you Awareness driven, or Focus driven?

It’s important that we don’t get so caught up in where we are going that we forget where we are. It is equally important that we don’t get caught up in where we are that we forget about where we are going.

Are you Awareness driven, or Focus driven?

Sometimes we think of awareness and focus as being very similar.  In fact they are opposites, and both are necessary. One is centralized or concentrated, the other outwardly distributed.

Awareness and focus are both important factors in our success.  It would be great if we all had a natural balance of the two, but we don’t. That puts us at odds with each other, or does it?

The Brain

The human brain is an incredible creation, but one thing it doesn’t do so well is see the big picture and see the details at the same time. We all have a tendency toward one, or the other, but not both. The eye can only focus on one thing at a time.  It can roam around taking smaller snapshots of information from all over, in a broad sense, or it can stay focused in the same area to get a deeper understanding of what it is looking at.

People tend to see that way too, but we also learn to grow, socialize and communicate similarly.  We are always seeking to expand our awareness of what is around us, or deepen our understanding of what is in front of us. Awareness driven people like to take complex ideas and simplify them to help ‘the many’ gain awareness and understanding.  Focused driven people like to add more details for a deeper level of understanding for ‘the few’ to gleem insight.

We all do both at times, but lean one way most of the time.  Some people become a jack of all trades and master of none, yet others may be able to play Mozart, but struggle to tie their shoes.

Puzzles

Imagine a scenario where two individuals were asked to put ten puzzles together, and they only have one hour to finish. These puzzles are not extremely difficult but not likely to be completed in a single hour by the average person.

An awareness driven person may approach this task in a much different manner than a focus driven person. He would look at the task; determine that finishing the project is the most important desired result.  After all they were given an hour TO FINISH!  He quickly figures out that there is 60 minutes to work with, ten puzzles so that gives him approximately six minutes for each puzzle.  After 60 minutes or so he has all ten mostly completed but none of them fully completed.  He walks away fairly satisfied knowing that all ten puzzles look pretty good.  He can still recognize the intended pictures from the boxes even though there are several gaps. “Git r done!”

The focus driven person takes a different approach.  She takes a good look at the picture on the box of the first puzzle to know what the outcome needs to look like.  She begins putting the puzzle together making sure she uses the pattern of corners first, edges second and then looks for identifiable patterns. She carefully searches for the right piece, finds it then puts it in its rightful place. With 20 minutes left, anxiety increases, she picks up her pace and pushes through completing 3 more puzzles before she runs out of time.  She looks at her six completed puzzles and is quite pleased.  She got six out of ten puzzles fully completed exactly as the boxes suggest.  “If you are not going to do it right, don’t do it at all”, she thinks.

Opposing Perspectives

What if each of their work is shown to the other to observe and comment on?  You can guess the criticism that may come from those evaluations as they view each other’s work from a different lens. “You didn’t even start four of them!”, “Well you didn’t finish any of them!”

In the leadership world we find these seemingly opposing perspectives play out all the time. Some people value efficiency; some are high on details and accuracy.  Some find satisfaction in covering more ground and others by covering better ground. Some put a high value on time or relationships. Others put a higher value on money or influence, while yet others seek excellence or strategy.

Humility

We can cause a disconnect when we fail to appreciate other people’s perspective, or if we believe that our way of thinking is more viable than others. By nature we all tend to think this way sometimes. It takes intentional effort, and humility to consider that others may have something specific to offer that we don’t (Cain and Abel). It also takes humility to accept that our perspective may be inferior compared to another.

“It takes intentional effort, and humility to consider that others may have something to offer that we don’t. It also takes humility to accept that our perspective may be inferior compared to another.”

One Body with Many Members

1Co 12:14-18 NIV Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.  Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.

When we choose to see awareness and focus not just as opposing views, but also as complimentary views, we may learn that we actually CANNOT get along WITHOUT each other. We complete each other. Unless we come to this awareness we will never understand the importance of interdependence and the beauty of productive, relational and spiritual harmony, as God intended it to be.

How We Show Appreciation

The 5 Languages of Appreciation

A couple of weeks ago I was able to hear Dr. Paul White talk about his book that he co-authored with Gary Chapman called The 5 Languages of Appreciation. I had read Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages many years ago, but I connected with this book in a way that made me take a long look at how I appreciate the people in my work.

It is easy to believe that we are doing better at showing appreciation toward others than we really are.  There aren’t very many people that are truly successful at showing it in the workplace, and we tend to grade ourselves on a curve.  We can tend to believe that being unappreciated is just part of the experience that makes “work” work.

Dr White shared information to help illustrate just how wide this misconception really is.

Why People Stay

  • In a survey of over 35,000 employees completed by the Chicago Tribune, the number one reason cited by the respondents of why they enjoyed their work was:  “I feel genuinely appreciated by this company” November 2013

The Big Picture

“More than 80% of employees say they’re motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work, and more than half of those surveyed said they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss” (BusinessNewsDaily, 2013)

Why People Leave

  • 64% of Americans who leave their jobs say they do so because they don’t feel appreciated. (US Dept of Labor)
  • The number one factor in job satisfaction is not the amount of pay but whether or not the individual feels appreciated and valued for the work they do.

This survey focuses on how the employees feel they are valued in the workplace.  It does not discuss how they really are valued.  In some cases the problem may be more about the inability to communicate appreciation to valued employees rather than failing to truly appreciate them.  An employee appreciated that doesn’t know it, can’t feel it.  They can’t read minds.

The Gap

“While 51% of managers believe they do a good job of recognizing job well done by their staff, only 17% of the employees in the same groups believe their managers recognize them for doing a good job” (SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 2012)

According to this survey 34% managers are not aware of their failure to recognize when their team does a good job.  The question is, are you one of those 34%, or do you work with anyone that falls into this category?

Recognition vs. Appreciation

One of the contributing factors to why individuals don’t feel truly appreciated is that leaders don’t always understand the difference between recognition and appreciation.

  • Recognition is largely about results or behavior, Catch them doing something great, and recognize them for it.
  • Appreciation is more personal, it focuses on the employee’s value as a person and an employee as well as their performance.
  • The relational direction of recognition is top-down, coming from leadership.  Appreciation, on the other hand, can be communicated in any direction.

What Language are you speaking?

Dr. White and Dr. Chapman suggest that we may be “missing the mark” because we arent’ speaking the same language as our co-workers.

“Each person has a primary and secondary language of appreciation. Our primary language communicates more deeply to us than the others. Although we will accept appreciation in all five languages, we will not feel truly encouraged unless the message is communicated through our primary language.”

“When messages are sent repeatedly in ways outside of that language, the intent of the message “misses the mark” and loses the impact the sender had hoped for.”

If you are in a leadership position and feel you need help with understanding a better model of appreciation, I highly recommend that you read this book.  The book discusses the 5 most common languages or channels that people tend to give and receive appreciation. This book has changed the way I will go about learning ways to show appreciation to each individual in my workplace.

Understanding my own language and learning others language is a game changer for me and I believe it can be for you. Appreciation is the secret weapon to bringing people together for a single cause.  When we can appreciate our employees as if they were volunteers, we can change the entire culture of our workplace.

Please share your experience.