Establishing a Culture of Acknowledgment
Editor’s Note: In response to a recent comment on the “The Power of Acknowledgement,” by Judy Umlas, commenter Lina asked, “Would you mind explaining or giving the steps to start implementing the acknowledgment culture in a team?” The following is Judy’s response.
Lina, I think you have asked a very important and worthwhile question.
Here are some steps you can take to establish or enhance a culture of acknowledgment (and appreciation) on a team:
1. If you’re a project leader for a new team, all the better. At your project kickoff meeting, announce that you have heard about the value of acknowledging team members for their accomplishments, and for who they are and what they bring to the team.
Be clear that people should only acknowledge team members that they truly feel deserve it. Otherwise, the acknowledgment will fall flat and be considered insincere. If the project is already underway, set up some specific time to discuss this at one of your regular project meetings.
2. Make the statement that everyone has a unique talent or gift that they bring to the team. Stress that they are all tasked with finding these gifts and talents.
3. In my book, The Power of Acknowledgment, I discuss 7 principles of acknowledgment, which can be summarized as follows:
- The world is full of people who deserve to be acknowledged.
- Acknowledgment builds intimacy and creates powerful interactions.
- Acknowledgment neutralizes, defuses, deactivates and reduces the effect of jealousy and envy.
- Recognizing good work leads to high energy, great feelings, high-quality performance and terrific results. Not acknowledging causes the opposite.
- Truthful, heartfelt and deserved acknowledgment always makes a difference in a person’s life and work.
- Acknowledgment can likely improve the emotional and physical health of both the giver and the receiver.
- Practice different ways of getting through to the people you want to acknowledge.
Ask people how these principles “show up” for them. Do they recognize that being acknowledged is an innate human need? Without it, people cannot survive, let alone thrive.
4. Share with them Stephen R. Covey’s quote from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is … to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.”
Keep the conversation about acknowledgment going throughout the life of the project. Then, do a wildly successful job as a team. The culture of acknowledgment and appreciation will allow that to happen.
How do you create a culture of acknowledgment within your project teams?