In my last two posts, I stated that as long as you’re here, you’ll always have an ego. One of the nastiest realities of your ego is that it tells you you’re not good enough, you’re not worthy and/or you’re not loved. The result is that all people have, to one degree or another, an issue with their self worth. And it should be pretty obvious that if you don’t feel good enough, worthy or loved, you won’t allow yourself to have the things you want in life. You just don’t see yourself as worthy or deserving of what life has to offer.
Another one of the consequences of this comes from the reality that we see our reflection in other people. What I mean by that is that other people literally function as a mirror, reflecting back to us our thoughts and feelings about ourselves. When we see someone we like, we’re seeing in them the parts of ourselves we’re happy about. When we see someone we don’t like, just the opposite is the case and we’re seeing in them the parts of ourselves we’re not happy about.
So how can you use this to your advantage? Learn to look for the good in everyone and learn to acknowledge people, especially if you’re a manager. Look, it’s really easy to find fault with people. True or true? And one of the biggest reasons for this is what I discussed earlier. So stop doing that and stop criticizing people. People already feel bad about themselves and you criticizing them just has them feel worse.
Instead, look for the good in people and work on catching them in the act of doing something, anything, that you can acknowledge them for and then do so. It will make them feel good about themselves and make you feel good about you.
To complete this, we have to distinguish between expressing appreciation and acknowledging people and most people haven’t a clue about what the difference is. We express appreciation for the things people “do.” “You did a great job on that report.” “thanks for bringing me a cup of coffee,” “thanks for picking my kids up at school.” We’re all usually pretty good at that.
But we acknowledge people for who they “are.” Appreciation lives in the domain of doing, acknowledgement lives in the domain of being. So, a manager might say to a worker something like: “I want to acknowledge you for the extraordinary commitment you bring to your job. You do everything with a smile on your face, no job is too big or too much for you, you do everything with a high degree of integrity, you dot the I’s and cross the t’s and don’t stop until everything is done completely. You’re a model for what I would like to see in everyone in this company.”
When you take the time to acknowledge people like that you produce several results. First, you’ll make a huge contribution to the others self esteem and they will begin to perform at an even high level than before. Equally as important, you’ll feel great about yourself in seeing the impact you’ve had on another and the acknowledgement will boomerang back on you and impact your self esteem.
We’ve spent far too long beating each other up. And, whether you believe this or not, there is no such thing as constructive criticism. Take your game up a notch by learning to acknowledge people.