[This issue is shorter than usual, but I hope no less impactful.]

In the last e-newsletter we saw that recognition is the nuclear fuel of human interaction: it gives us the self-belief and confidence to act, it motivates us, and it binds us to others.

How we long for recognition! We crave appreciation after a major effort or enduring adversity. We want attention; we seek ‘Likes’ for our Facebook and LinkedIn posts. We wait for our contribution to be acknowledged. (Who hasn’t hoped that she or he would be singled out for a glowing mention – even in passing – during a speech?).

We also saw in the last e-newsletter how the power of recognition can be harnessed in the workplace to bond people into properly forming teams; to assist in marshalling stakeholders for change efforts; and for leaders to draw on to forge a shared vision.

The Radical Reversal
And herein lies the turning point, the Copernican moment. There is a fundamental transformation in psychologically pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps, out of our own need to be recognised, to become the Recogniser, the one who gives recognition to others.

The import of this is not to be under-estimated. For a manager or leader (or parent … or friend … or significant other …) it represents a quantum shift in the structure of your relationships, a fundamental altering of your stance toward others. Rather than others being an audience from whom we seek acclamation – possible sources for recognition for us – they instead become possible recipients for the acclamation we can provide. We become the source of recognitive power rather than its beneficiary.

An Act of Creation
I contend that recognising involves an act of creation, or better, re-creation. It represents the ability to breathe life into something. When you recognise something you legitimate it, fortify it, and animate it. In the beginning there was Recognition.

The task then becomes one of intentionally directing our recognition where we want to create and sustain a new level of performance, or skill, or behaviour, or morale.

So the questions I would like to leave with you are these:

* Whose efforts can you acknowledge today?

* Where can you see an ebb in motivation or morale that might be addressed through the acknowledgment of peoples’ contributions?

* What mechanisms can you put in place to systematically recognise great work or exemplary behaviour?

*What strengths have you identified as a result of recognising others’ contribution?

Recognition is not a cure-all any more than it is a narrow technique of ingratiation.

What it is though, as I stated in Part 1, is a means of enlivening those around us by engaging them at their core.

And the very good news is that in doing that, one of those peculiar paradoxes unfolds where in relinquishing recognition to give it to others we gain the greater recognition of being the source of motivation, of a new standard of performance.

When you look at it that way, subordinating our own need for recognition is not giving up very much at all.


Director I Michael Carman Consulting

PO Box 686, Petersham NSW 2049 I M: 0414 383 374

© Michael Carman 2016