Show Your Appreciation

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Acknowledging people for the contribution they make to a project team or to their organization is such a simple matter. It's something I say repeatedly wherever I can get on my "soapbox": We can acknowledge people at any time, at no cost, without having to buy anything, install software or study an instruction manual.

Last night my soapbox was a live webinar attended primarily by project managers from all over the world, including Hong Kong, China, India, Brazil and the United States.

During the seminar I asked participants, "How do you feel when you complete a project that you put your whole heart, soul, body, mind and spirit into for the past several months, the users love the end result and your manager gives you nothing more than a quick 'thank you?"

This was the response via text chat:

Thomas: discouraged
Tanya: feel used
Srikrithiga: not interested to work
James: discouraged
Suganthi: Discouraged
James: feel indifferent
Sanjib: feeling of being empty--what was I doing all the time?
Ravindra: No motivation
Tanya: I won't give my best effort
Linda: lack of loyalty
Linda: feeling insecure, not as interested in working so hard
Fabricio: lack of motivation
Jade: feel not being valued, lack of respect

Then I asked, "How do you feel if your manager tells you what a difference your work made to the project team, how your contribution made the project a success, how much the users loved it, that she was getting wonderful feedback on it, and that the next time you would get more resources so you didn't have to work so many nights and weekends?"

And they answered:
James: I would feel appreciated; that motivates me
Shelley: Motivated...willing to give an even greater effort
Linda: enthusiastic
Ravindra: I would make extra efforts
Mariano: I would feel like a giant
Jade: more loyalty
Linda Benedict: my confidence would be boosted by the acknowledgement
Srikrithiga: I would give 200% for work

Performance, loyalty, engagement, confidence, motivation, self-worth are all functions of acknowledgment rather than compensation.

Especially during these challenging economic times--when everyone is working harder and having to do more--let's do our best to create a culture of appreciation in which people know their value and their worth.

There could be nothing simpler and more satisfying and with greater results.
Posted by Judy Umlas on: August 03, 2009 02:25 PM | Permalink

Comments (6)

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This is a greatly under rated area of project management because it involves a soft skill which is unquantifiable by normal project metrics.

However successful project teams are vital to project delivery. Therefore thank your team and give them credit when they do good work.

Oh and if you're being really mercenary remember that if your team looks good so will you as their project manager!


Susan de Sousa
Site Editor

Come on, people. If you are going to be a professional, then you need to stop with the positive feedback. [Doing your job] This is what you are paid for. Be appreciative of the "quick thank you" and recognize that if the users love your work, that is the true measure of the value you bring to the organization.

Are glowing thank you's nice? Sure. But some of the comments above look more like a 2nd Grade class than a group of PM's.

Vijay Shah
Acknowledgment is always good but if it is not followed by the deeds then it does not have value.

So even if you get acknowledged just for acknowledgment but your manager does not show respect after that then what is point of acknowledgment? I always believe in having my work force people to acknowledge me and if they do not, I do better than what I did last time and keep on doing it.

Mohamed Sirajudeen
Nice post. A ceremonial appreciation highlighting the achievements in the project, specifically detailing individual contributions will keep employees spirits high. In my previous organization, the CTO used to refer to the achievements of QA lead's contribution (like decreasing the defect count) in town hall sessions. It definitely pepped up our spirits.

Of course, accolades alone will not suffice. The team members will expect monetary benefits also—salary raise, promotion et al.

Judith Umlas
Susan de Sousa makes a good point regarding acknowledgment being an under rated area of project management because it is a soft skill. And yet the [A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge] devotes specific attention to rewards and recognition. Acknowledgment is, I believe, one step further along a continuum of positive communication. It goes deeper into the value of a person to a team or to an organization, and makes note of their contributions, while recognition is more focused on the task. So maybe the next edition of the Guide will make note of acknowledgment as a key tool to use! Thanks for your comment, Susan! Please stay tuned for more posts of this nature.

Justin Lloyd-Williams
I have only just read this blog entry re appreciation when I was searching on the PMI site for discussion regarding incentive models for PMs. My company is looking at tying specific targets on specific projects (schedule, cost and revenue targets) to individual project manager's variable pay award/bonus and I keen to understand the writer's view on approaching incentives in this way?

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