The power of acknowledgement – Mark MacLeod

October 1, 2020 - Mark MacLeod

The power of acknowledgement

Despite the propensity of startup founders to always be telling the outside world that they are “crushing it”, the fact is building high growth companies is hard.

It is particularly hard for founding CEOs, whose identity, and often sense of self worth, are tied to the ups and downs of the company. But also hard for the entire team who are either struggling to create growth or struggling to keep up with it.

All too often we forget that companies are nothing more than collections of human beings. Everything begins and ends with your people.

As a result, the things that we value and respond to as humans (outside of work) have the same effect at work. One such thing is acknowledging the work and efforts of you and your team.

A little acknowledgement can go a long way. Done regularly and with authenticity it can be a powerful driver of engagement and performance.

Acknowledging yourself

Let’s face it, the CEO’s job is tough! Everyone wants a piece of you. The list of demands is never-ending.

The CEO job is also lonely in many ways. While CEOs get all the accolades in the press (and all the bad stuff too….), they don’t get a lot of feedback.

Acknowledging the positive steps that you and your company make each day is a truly powerful exercise. I have suggested to several of the CEOs I work with to do one or both of the following daily:

As you wrap up your day, in addition to noting priorities for the following day, take a moment to note what happened today that you are most proud of.

Consider journalling daily. If you are not ready for unguided journalling, start with the Five Minute Journal.

I have an explicit daily gratitude practice. I have journaled for most of my adult life. Noting what I am most grateful for and proud of daily gives me tons of energy and momentum.

Acknowledging your team

As part of your daily wrap up, if you note that a team member did something special, take a moment to acknowledge that. Publicly. Post in a public slack channel. Call them out for it in a town hall. Give genuine praise regularly and watch people blossom! To see that you are both paying attention and that you value their special efforts is a true, sustaining motivator.

Questions to consider

When is the last time I stopped to smell the roses? To acknowledge the great things happening in my company?

How often do I acknowledge the progress I am making as a leader?

What impact would a daily acknowledgment practice have on my happiness, satisfaction, stress levels and engagement?

How often do I acknowledge the efforts of members of my team?

What impact would acknowledging individual’s performance have on their happiness, satisfaction, stress levels and engagement?

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

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