Blog @ Resurgence

Seeking recognition and approval –are we looking in the right places?


Recognition and appreciation are fundamental human needs. We want to know that our effort is valued and appreciated by someone. Lack of regular recognition and appreciation in the workplace may result in lack of employee motivation, engagement and drop in productivity.

Many books and articles have been written on the topic of a culture of ‘Recognition’ and its importance to the success of any organisation. The focus is on the giving side; providing guidance, strategies and advice to organisations on how to give effective recognition, reward, appreciation, praise, etc to employees.

But what about the ‘receiving’ end of recognition – from the employee, or should I say the ‘human being’ side…

As an employee it is often easy to point a finger at the ‘organisation’ or the person in charge and say ‘they do not recognise my hard work/effort’.  But as the old saying goes: “when you point a finger at someone, you actually point the other three fingers at yourself”. The problem may well be with the organisation you work in, or with your manager; but could it possibly also be with you?

As children we constantly seek praise and approval from our parents and other adults (“Mummy, Daddy, look at me!”). The yearning for praise and recognition is a survival mechanism and is ingrained in us from such a young age that one could argue that it is very difficult to let go of it as adults. And maybe we don’t really let go, but just ask for it in a more subtle way as adults…

Do you perhaps, have deep yearning for praise, recognition and approval from others?

Do you sometimes tend to over-give to others in order to win their approval, their affection/loyalty, and their praise and recognition?

Do you keep score? If others don’t give back to you accordingly – after you have given them so much – do you then resent them for that?

Here is an interesting phrase I recently heard:

“Every time you seek praise and approval from another person, you are asking for this person to pass judgment on you – and you give away your power. “

“Praise and criticism are two sides of the one coin – the coin of judgment.”

Perhaps we should spend more time and energy on having faith in ourselves and giving ‘approval’ and ‘acceptance’ to ourselves rather than seeking it from others in that ‘perfect’ organisation/family/society.  We may then become more independent and self reliant, honour ourselves and not cede our power to others to give us that approval and praise.

I am not trying to detract from the great importance of a good Recognition Culture in the workplace; rather I am seeking to encourage greater individual self reflection, often neglected in the business context, to reclaim individual ‘power’ and judgement.

by Ayala Domani

8 thoughts on “Seeking recognition and approval –are we looking in the right places?

  1. Nice blog Ayala!

  2. Hi Ayala

    I 100% agree with you. Having only recently become aware of – and then having been able to reduce – my yearning for praise, it’s fundamentally changed my perspective on life.

    Thanks for a great post.


  3. The paragraph “Every time you seek praise and approval from another person, you are asking for this person to pass judgment on you – and you give away your power. “

    It’s so powerful sentence and so true, as a role of thumb, I always check to whom I share my ideas, that way you receiving a more meaningful answers.

    Thanks for the post

  4. Interesting and refreshing ideas :).
    Enjoyed the read.

  5. Just brilliant!!

  6. Very powerfule idea… I am realising that in interacting with employees, coleagues and supervisors I am seeking some form of recognition and in doing so I am giving them power over me… where it should not be a question of power but rather authority, however when you loose power you abdicate authority…

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