You Are What You Acknowledge!

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Almost everyone knows the saying, "You are what you eat." But Michael E. Case, president and CEO of The Westervelt Co., a land resource organization, put a new twist on it by saying, "You are what you acknowledge."

In order to see something great in another, you have to have some experience with that quality or talent yourself. To admire and praise a team member's dedication and value as a human being to your team, you have to know on some level what it is to feel valued and to make a contribution to a team.

When project team members show they respect and appreciate fellow team members' commitment, integrity, openness, positive attitude, expertise, knowledge sharing and listening, that's what becomes the team's--and even the organization's--core values.

When these core values are brought to light, team members listen, they don't tolerate serving their customers poorly and they have a high sense of integrity. They become what they acknowledge.

Leaders must set the example in order to have others emulate it and make it positively "rampant" in an organization. And by the definition of former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JP Morgan Chase, William Harrison, Jr., everyone can do this. He dramatically stated, "Be a leader. We want everybody to be a be a leader you have to have a view, be willing to constructively express it, and use it to make something better. Under that definition, everybody can be a leader."

Everyone, then, not only can be, but IS a leader. Everyone, then, can demonstrate that ability to make something better. Team leaders who focus on and make it their honor and their duty to exemplify the power of acknowledgment achieve great results. Those of us who are acknowledged find it much easier to acknowledge others.

Acknowledgments truly transform both the giver and the receiver on a project team. They engender employee loyalty and engagement, improve relationships and enhance self-worth. These positive results are contagious, and the actions of each team member are amplified as the recipient picks up on this idea and spreads the circle wider. Like pebbles in a pond, the ripples radiate farther and farther out.

You are indeed what you acknowledge! Why wait to start practicing this--as a leader, do it now and reap the rewards! 
Posted by Judy Umlas on: February 18, 2010 08:00 PM | Permalink

Comments (4)

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Maria Pegkou, MSc, PMP
Acknowledging someone’s contributions and qualities is a very powerful motivating factor and helps in creating a trusted environment.

What I would like to add is the importance of been authentic when doing so. It happens that people use flattery as a form of recognition / acknowledgment or are not genuine when expressing acknowledgments. I believe this may permanently damage a relationship as it brings out negative feelings and puts up defensive mechanisms.

Jamal Uddin Ahmed
Great idea!

Acknowledging others also generates a sense of accomplishment and achievement. Person who really feels the pain of hard work can not resist acknowledging others when co-workers or even the seniors perform great. My belief is, this power of acknowledgment not only generates good team spirit and positive attitude but also generate love among the members and feel closer. This definitely affects the society in general as well.


My PMT has given a lot of clarity on many management principles, I can use this skills to the advancement to reach the above of Benchmark. I am sure it will help a lot with the Work of Global Leaders .

My hearty wishes.

Barry Floyd
I want to echo Maria Pegkou and warn not to cheapen the reward or acknowledgement. It is a very powerful tool to give credit where credit is due it can also have a very negative effect to give credit to those that do not deserve it. To take it a step further than acknowledging your teams efforts and accomplishments empower them to develop ideas to improve the process. Acting on their ideas for improvement is even more motivating than acknowledging a job well done.

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