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Dear Workforce How Can I Get a Pat On The Back

I believe it’s important to thank my employees for jobs well done, and to also praise them in front of others. How can I get my superior to realize that I, too, need to feel appreciated?
February 27, 2003
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Related Topics: Recognition, Dear Workforce
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Dear Ignored:

First, it's good to hear you are trying to create a positive environment atwork.
Two common beliefs tend to perpetuate the problem that you're facing. Somemanagers believe that people shouldn't be thanked for simply doing their jobs.Others conclude: “I was successful without positive feedback, and you're awimp if you can't succeed the way I did. So tough it out.” Whether or notthese views are representative of your managers, here are suggestions fortalking to them.
Before any conversation, reflect on how well you are performing anddelivering on your manager's expectations -- not just formal jobresponsibilities, but leadership, team play, initiative, and the whole varietyof areas that matter to your boss. (It would be awkward to be asking forpositives, only to have a previously unknown shortcoming pointed out.)
Then, schedule some time, preferably face-to-face, when you can meet for atleast 30 minutes uninterrupted. Explain that your purpose is to discuss yourworking relationship and make sure that each of you understands the other'sexpectations. Describe briefly how you see the big picture; perhaps somethinglike this: “I enjoy working for you and feel that our relationship is workingwell in most areas, but one item continues to concern me. As I thought about discussing this, I realized I may not fullyunderstand everything you are looking for, so I also want to make sure I have aclear picture of your expectations.”
Start with your managers' expectations and concerns first. Ask questions todraw them out fully. Only when you are sure you understand the expectations fordirect reports (in general) and your bosses' perspective on you (inparticular), are you ready to state your request. Here, too, put it in thecontext of the total relationship. For example: “I really appreciate clearguidance, opportunity to work on cutting edge projects, and so on, as well asappreciation and recognition for the work that I do. Overall, you provide most of these quite well. The one area that I'd like more of is positivefeedback.”
Once the two of you understand each other, discuss how each of you couldchange to better meet the other's expectations, again starting with what youare willing to do to meet your manager's desires before discussing your own.After you agree on a plan, schedule a few minutes every couple weeks to followup and review your progress so you make sure that things are working.
There's a broader issue here as well. Few managers are trained in how tomotivate workers and provide the kind of environment that supports optimalperformance. Managers can be trained to understand the employees'perspectives on their own goals and values (what matters to them) and theirabilities (how they see themselves and their performance). The manager is askedto share his or her view on how they see the employee (perceptions) and whatmatters in terms of the employee's performance (i.e., success factors). Whenmanagers can have this kind of conversation with employees, they set thegroundwork for effective coaching, motivation of their teams, and collaborativeproblem solving.
SOURCE: David B. Peterson, Ph.D, senior vice president for PersonnelDecisions International (PDI), and author of Development FIRST: Strategies forSelf-development and Leader As Coach: Strategies for Coaching and Developing Others, Aug. 2, 2002.
LEARN MORE: Read: Building BetterBosses.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide usefulinformation on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice ora legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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Dear Workforce Newsletter
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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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