Reengagement 180 Podcast #1: Authentic Acknowledgement

Looking for a no-cost way of doubling employee engagement, improving productivity, and spurring innovation. If you’ve been giving your employees feedback – even positive feedback – you’ll want to listen to this episode.

Note: If you’re using Firefox, you may see a grey box instead of the embedded player. If so, click the link above to listen on Soundcloud, or via the Stitcher Radio player:


So a person I know very well – an outstanding contributor to their organization – shared the feedback that their manager gave them recently after the successful completion of a project. The manager said, “I’m very impressed with your work ethic and attention to quality and it’s a real pleasure knowing I have such a professional on the team I can count on.   I have also learned quite a bit about various facets of your subject matter just from observing you in action.”

Sounds pretty good, right?

Wrong. Not only did it fall flat for my friend—it had a completely demoralizing and demotivating effect. You see, the feedback reflected the manager’s needs: Someone with a great work ethic. Attention to quality. Expressing their personal pleasure knowing that they had a professional on their team. None of it reflected anything to do with the accomplishment itself, how that accomplishment contributed to the greater purpose and objectives of the business, or to the greater purpose and meaning that my friend connects with their own work. What’s worse is that last comment, about learning the subject matter just from observing them in action. That patronizing comment completely devalues their entire 20-year professional career.

You see, praise or so-called constructive criticism – the common components of “feedback” – are all about the manager and the work requirements they seek from subordinates. However, in today’s world of work, very few people show up simply to please the boss.

Rather than feedback, try Authentic Acknowledgement. Acknowledgement is based on three, simple questions: Who is the person being in their accomplishment? What qualities, strengths, & values important to them are they demonstrating? Why did what they accomplish matter in service of their own higher work purpose?

When someone is authentically acknowledged, they are being recognized for who they are, what they uniquely bring to their role, and why their contribution matters—to them and their aspirations. Acknowledgement boosts their intrinsic motivation, and that only encourages them to go from strength to strength. Best of all, it costs nothing to gain tremendous benefits for everyone.

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