When You See Acknowledgement Missing on Your Team
Acknowledgement and Appreciation: Requesting When Missing–so what are we getting at? Here, it’s really pretty simple. Let’s say you notice that someone did something that was worthy of acknowledgement and that it would be useful to acknowledge, and you also notice, or at least it looks to you like they haven’t been acknowledged. This is an opportunity–this is one of those moments that we, in The Collaborative Way, call an invitation to leadership. This is an invitation for you to take some leadership and go to the person who it doesn’t look like has acknowledged the other person and make a request that they do so.
An Example of How to Make a Request for Acknowledgement
So for example, let’s say that Elizabeth and her team had done a really great job for Sam and have played a big role in the success of Sam’s project, and it doesn’t look to you like Sam has acknowledged Elizabeth or her team. So, there’s that moment. So, what would be available if you were to step forward and accept that invitation to leadership is you could go to Sam and say, “Hey, Sam hey did you notice the contribution that Elizabeth and her team made to your project?”
And he might say, “Oh yeah, I definitely did. It was incredible! They brought the extra magic that made all the difference in the world!”
“Oh, great! Have you acknowledged Elizabeth and her team?”
“Uh, no I haven’t. Well, in fact, thank you for bringing that to my attention. I can’t believe I haven’t done that yet. I got all caught up in the details of wrapping up this project.”
“OK, so when are you going to acknowledge Elizabeth and her team?”
“Yeah, I’ll do that for sure by the end of the day tomorrow. Thank you again for doing that. Thanks for supporting me by bringing it to my attention. I am so thankful, and I appreciate that I’m gonna have this opportunity.”
What Happens When You Don’t Request Acknowledgement?
I find that’s usually the case–in fact, it’s always been the case for me. Whenever I bring to the attention of someone that they have missed an opportunity to acknowledge someone, they almost always thank me for doing so. And boy, what a difference that makes. See, it would be so easy to see Sam not make this acknowledgment, and then instead of taking that invitation to leadership–to be, in a way, at the effect of Sam not doing that–and almost for sure I’ll say something less than wonderful about Sam. You know, I might say, “Boy, he’s one of these guys around here that really doesn’t appreciate what people do for him.” You might even complain about him. You might even complain about the fact that acknowledgment is so missing on your team or in your company.
That doesn’t contribute. In fact, you’re not being for Sam, and you’re not being for Elizabeth, and you’re not supporting others in the practice of The Collaborative Way. If you shift out of being at effect of it–this absence of acknowledgment–and see that as instead as an opening for your leadership and an invitation for you to take leadership and support the practice of Acknowledgement and Appreciation being present on your team, in the company. Taking that leadership makes a tremendous difference in Acknowledgement and Appreciation being present. Going the other route actually contributes to the absence of Acknowledgement and Appreciation–the very thing you’re complaining about. I invite you to be a leader. I invite you to really support Acknowledgement and Appreciation being present in your company by making this request.
When You Don’t Feel Acknowledged
And by the way, you know, for those few times you might find yourself feeling unacknowledged, unappreciated, I would invite you to at least check it out with the other person. Maybe not, maybe not make the request, but at least check out with the other person. I know that I’ll do that because I know that if I’m really feeling unacknowledged and unappreciated that it’s going to slip out. I’m going to end up saying things that I’d rather not say. It’s hard to be as fully enthusiastic, as we’ve looked at the negative impacts of feeling unacknowledged and unappreciated.
I remember one time that I was walking on the beach with Bill Budinger, the CEO of Rodell–where we first brought The Collaborative Way forward. And I said to him, “Hey, Bill, over the last year, how do you think we’re doing with The Collaborative Way?”
And he stopped, and he turned and looked straight at me and said, “Lloyd, I’m still working at this Acknowledgement and Appreciation.” And then he acknowledged me in a way that I had no idea he felt so strongly about the contribution that I and the team had been making.
And then I said to him, “Hey Bill, that just blows me away. Thank you very much. I’m deeply moved, and I’d really appreciate it if you would email the team and let them know how you feel.”
He said, “No, I won’t do that. When’s your next team meeting?” And I told him, and he said, “I’ll be there. I’ll acknowledge them at that time.” And wow, did he ever. It made such a difference to the team and inspired them and brought their enthusiasm alive even more than it already was.
This is the impact that can come from making that request for acknowledgment or at least generating the opportunity for it to come forward. What a missed opportunity–in this case, if I hadn’t done that. Now, I realize that’s a senior move, and we’re not pushing you to do that. And at the same time, we’re inviting you to take leadership in having Acknowledgement and Appreciation be present on your team and in your company: request when missing.