Recognition: a must or a need?

We are taught the taste of recognition when we are born. Most parents tell us that we are beautiful, smart, or even perfect. When we smile for the first time, or when we make the first step, we get a big “Bravo” from our parents, sometimes even with applause. This really helps build our confidence and reassurance that we are a great person and it has quite a significant positive impact on our personal development in the future.

Then, at school we get grades, diplomas, or medals, for our achievements. And it is not just a way of differentiating the performance, it also builds our pride and confidence.

A few years later reality kicks in as we start our jobs, and not all of us get recognition from our managers. Sometimes we don’t get any feedback at all. This is when we start doubting our skills, our readiness for a certain role and we start questioning if we chose the right profession.

Sometimes it could get even worse, encountering self-depreciation or even depression, if not burnout, trying to demonstrate we are good enough. This is based on our ultimate need for recognition that we got used to since our birth. Just look at social media, it wouldn’t mean anything without “Likes”, reactions and engagement. Even LinkedIn introduced more reactions in addition to likes and a special feature to give recognition/kudos cards to your colleagues and friends.

Appreciation can make a day – even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.

Margaret Cousins


Two types of reactions to recognition and the self-aware employee

In my corporate career I met two types of reactions to recognition.

Some employees who get recognized are so happy and confident that they start doing even more, asking for involvement in more projects to amplify the joy of being recognized.

The other type of reaction is: Ah, I did a great job, maybe I should slow down a bit and take some free time or don’t be so involved as I am already

For a leader it’s really important to identify these types and adapt the recognition methods.

Then there is the rare type, the one that is surviving with any kind of management type: the auto-recognition employee.

This type of employee doesn’t need someone else to tell them how good he or she is. They just know it and tell themselves every day in the morning they are the smartest, the most creative, the greatest. It’s the self-aware employee, who knows when he or she did a great job and knows how to celebrate it.

Don’t worry when you are not recognized but strive to be worthy of recognition.

Abraham Lincoln

Companies try to get the recognition to a higher level by implementing several types of recognition programs such as: employee of the month, or employee of the year, recognition for great results, or involvement in special projects.

Sometimes employees just need a simple Thank you or a tap on the shoulder with Great job!, It’s a pleasure to work with you!, I really appreciate your efforts – it can work miracles.

So, don’t be cheap with simple words that mean a lot, and can have a really big impact on the level of engagement and involvement of your team, or your colleagues.

And if you don’t get recognized, don’t forget – auto recognition is the cure, at least for a while :).

Gratitude turns disappointment into lessons learned, discoveries made, alternatives explored, and new plans set in motion.


I often say that a simple Great job! at work is like an I love you! at home. It keeps the balance, the confidence and the harmony.

I experienced working with different types of managers and colleagues, and I must say that no matter the role, or my place in the company’s hierarchy, having been appreciated by them really gave me a boost of energy, and inspired me to do more.

What’s more fulfilling for a manager than seeing his/her team motivated, involved and committed to do more?

[bctt tweet=”A simple Great job! at work is like an I love you! at home: it keeps the balance, the confidence and the harmony says coach Stela Toderascu on #employeerecognition” username=”brand_minds”]

Appreciate the effort not only the result. Recognize your peers, not only your team.

If you are not convinced yet that recognition is crucial in your performance or in the performance of your team, answer the following questions:

1. When do I have the best performance at work?

2. If I would get more appreciated, how would this impact my work?

3. If I would appreciate more the work of my colleagues/my team, how would this change their behavior?

And the last challenge:

Say at least one of these appreciations:

“Great job!”,

“It is a pleasure working with you!”,

“I really appreciate your efforts”

to a different colleague every day for one month and see what happens.

If you read this article till the end, you did a great job!

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