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Increase Acknowledgment for More Ease at Work

By Caterina Rando, MA, MCC

In a program on “Power Thinking for Better Business,” there was a woman in the audience named Teresa-and she was frustrated. She said she was doing a decent job of managing her workload; her problem, she stated, was the other workers in her department. She continued, “They do not seem to listen to me, they definitely do not seem to care about me, and they never help out.”

At work or at home, it is easy to point the finger at other people and say that they are our problem. However, blaming others just leads to a dead end. We cannot control other people, and we will waste a lot of energy and give ourselves a lot of grief when we try.

If Teresa wanted things to be different at work, she had to find a way within her control to create change. Knowing that demanding rarely works, and that begging is too demeaning to use on a regular basis, I suggested to Teresa that she try acknowledging her co-workers. Every day, she was to find one thing to acknowledge about each of the other people who work in her department. She thought the idea was ridiculous.

I pointed out that usually she is focused on what is missing, instead of what is working in her department. Desperate for more harmony and ease, she decided to try the experiment.

Every day she looked for one thing for which she could acknowledge the other individuals at her workplace. At first she said it was hard. Soon it became easier, and soon after that she noticed more interest in helping from her co-workers-more closeness and connection between them.

After the first week, Teresa committed to continuing this daily practice indefinitely. A few weeks later, at lunch with her colleagues, laughing and conversing, Teresa was overcome with emotion. Everyone was enjoying each other and sharing time together in a way they had not experienced before.

By forcing herself to focus on what was going well and acknowledging others, Teresa began to increase her awareness of all the large and small things that were good in her department. She stopped having any interest in nagging, and she started to communicate with more compassion.
Appreciating the acknowledgment and noticing the shift to a more harmonious place, her co-workers felt closer to Teresa, and she got more support.

Don’t confuse a compliment with an acknowledgment. Compliments are usually about someone’s looks or what they are wearing; “Nice tie,” “That blue shirt brings out your eyes,” or “That is a beautiful dress” are all compliments. An acknowledgment focuses on someone’s behavior or character. “Thank you for getting that report to me on time,” “I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me,” or “It means a lot to me when you help me clean up after the
presentation” are all acknowledgments.

When acknowledging people, be specific-do not simply tell people they did a good job or that they are a valuable member of the committee. Tell them why. A few examples of acknowledgments in a professional setting are: “You always are so effective leading the meetings,” “I really value your opinion,” and “Great job on that project; you really used a lot of creative problem-solving.”

Start right now to focus on increasing your acknowledgments, both at work and at home. Getting good at acknowledgment will take some time; pretty soon, though, you will find yourself acknowledging people naturally, with ease. You will find more closeness, camaraderie and fulfillment in all your relationships.

Caterina Rando, MA, MCC, coaches entrepreneurs to attract clients with ease by establishing themselves as experts in their fields. Caterina is the creator of the Business Breakthrough Coaching Program. Visit her website at www.attractclientswithease.com to listen to business building teleclasses and find other resources. She can be reached at 415 668-4535 or via email at cat@attractclientswithease.com.