I have been thinking a lot about the importance of being acknowledged, a need we all have. Maybe we have differing sensitivities to the need, maybe we need it in differing situations.
The deep need to be acknowledged starts as a young child, the motivation of the clap when you stand and take the first step, the joy of a teacher’s positive words. The pride from a parent when you pass an exam. Then we go into the workplace, we grow up,
When we grow up we are among a huge community of influencers. Our peers, our bosses, our adult siblings. All adults striving for their own needs to be met.
Social Media has heightened and almost delegated our need for acknowledgement to the LIKE, share or RT (retweet) of a post we make. Hopefully we share thoughts online in order to support others and share our learning, however, many times, a bit like this post, we write something from our hearts that is a new understanding for us, or we write to feel our own lives, feelings and vulnerabilities are being validated by others, that we are ‘normal’ with how we feel.
I am in a situation currently where my emotions are not and cannot be acknowledged as the emotions I have are not as important or as deep as those who are directly impacted by a loss in their life, the death of my mother-in-law. Often we are bi-standers in a trauma or an onlooker on a situation happening around us. It might be in an office when we see an injustice happen to a colleague, the loss of a loved one in a family, but you are not the most directly impacted. However, whatever the situation, the pain you feel is real, personal and triggers an emotion that can be hard to rationalise.
In my case it has taken me 4 days to understand the deep feelings of loss I am experiencing, and now that I understand myself, I can acknowledge my own pain and no longer need an outsider to do this for me. I learned from the journey I went on and documented in my book “Business is Personal’, that we carry triggers from our past. Unresolved issues that can be sparked by something later in life. For me, watching the beautiful end to an amazing mother-in-law, who died aged 89 with all her mind intact and with all her family around her has shown me the way I and my family were robbed of this due to my mum having dementia for 7 years. There was no moment to say our goodbye. Our loss was undefined, slow and had no closure.
I now feel I have most 2 mums, I loved my mother in law deeply, I also loved my own mum. In saying goodbye to one, I am saying goodbye to two.
This is a personal story of acknowledgment, business experiences can be the same. We spend a great deal of our time reaching out for someone to validate that we are worth while, that we matter, that what we have achieved is good. Those fortunate enough to have a strong sense of self-worth don’t need this as much. However, we all need to be aware that many people around us in our working lives still need praise and need to be noticed, for their joys and their sorrows, for their strengths and their vulnerabilities.
As a ‘servant leader’, I naturally praise and encourage others, as someone who needs it myself, I see the need in others. From telling a lady she is beautiful in a supermarket queue, to thanking a customer service person on the phone to the Bank, I like to spread the feeling that we all matter. It takes a moment to do this and lasts hours in the person you impact.
In the past week I have had conversations with people in business who have many personal issues impacting them, yet, they put the smile on their face at work that is required. The mum with an autistic child, the lady who has just found out her husband is having an affair, the man whose wife committed suicide, the young women with infertility issues, the man strong enough to go to AA for his dependence on alcohol, the person suffering at the hands of a Corporate Bully. We often have no idea f the pain that sits in the office alongside us. Just the acknowledgment of knowing these things and saying ‘I hear you’, this can be enough, very few people want sympathy of to change their working patterns, they just need to be acknowledged for their situation and their strength. So many fear the personal conversations, however, they can be the most important in gaining trust and increasing a person’s ability to keep going.
I have been speaking to many business leaders since my book has launched. They ask me how to address the wellbeing issues of their staff. The greatest gift you can give in business is to notice someone, to see the individual and to show that they matter. Automation, the quest for efficiency, the stress of lowering costs, the push for greater share prices, this has all brought massive automation and has taken humanity out of business. This is leaving people feeling worthless, unrequired and dispensable. It has led to Corporate Bulling from vulnerable bosses that fear their own jobs, it has led to mental health issues in the workplace that with stress, anxiety and depression leading to 12% of the UK’s total sick days, and over half a million workers suffering from reported stress at work, employee welfare and mental health in the workplace is critical.
We can all make a difference in our daily lives, looking a homeless person in the eye and showing them you ‘see them’, telling your friends you value them, acknowledging kind acts and beautiful people around you, listening to your colleague, being the kind of boss that shares your own lives and vulnerabilities and in doing so give permission to your workforc
Kindness does not weaken business, it is the foundation of a business. Building a culture in modern business of kindness can be done, this is the most viral of emotions, it takes one person to spread the virus. Perhaps each of us can be that in our day today.
P.S. My book is on Amazon – Kindle, Audio and print HERE
P.P.S You can also order it on my website, I will personally send it and can sign a copy for you or your friend if you wish, I will be in touch if you order this way, click HERE for my order page, I will nudge you when it comes out