Recognition, Praise, and Appreciation in Reverse

Employee recognition and reward is such a hot topic in the leadership, management and human resources fields.  Although fading to a degree, “Employee Engagement”, was a big buzzword at all the conferences for the last decade or so.  With all the focus on the how management should do their job, I wonder how much the employee actually thinks about their employer, supervisor, manager, boss or whatever they want to call the person they report to.  Do they ever think about recognizing, praising, or showing appreciation to them for a job well done?  Do they ever let them know they appreciate them for how they make them feel about the job they are doing for the company? Do they ever consider what else they are going through besides managing the employee? Do they ever say thank you? I assume the majority would say no.  I am not just talking about “Bosses” day invented by a card company.  I am talking all year long.

Management in my experience has been a zero recognition job in most cases.  Not from personal experience so much as it is from observation with past employers, clients, and even stories shared by students.  I don’t really think there is a lot going on up there in the brains of employees related to giving back when they have a great relationship.  I think a good boss is often taken for granted.  There has been so much focus over the last 20 plus years to change management styles and culture of the organization to one that grows and develops employees. While I wholeheartedly agree with this philosophy, I often wonder what we are doing to encourage the reverse type of recognition and praise.  Managers can leave jobs too just as much as employees can.  Employee turnover is usually a big focus but what about management turnover? Sure there is a focus from the manager’s boss’s perspective because they are an employee but what about the reverse?  The employee to the manager.


This excellent visual reposted by my Canadian friend Jeff Waldman recently reminded me of where we have come from (old style management) to where we are now, and is a perfect example of what I just touched on above.  The problem I see now is employees treating their managers like the boss picture instead of encouraging them like the leader picture.  I don’t know if it comes from years of legislation that makes it seem almost as if the employer owes the employee or if it’s coming from years of being treated like the employee can do wrong. I don’t want to make this a gender, race, religion, or age issue.  I have seen it from all types of employees.  Most would blame younger generations but I have seen older employees more confidently combative and disrespectful to their employer.

I think the problem falls back on the golden rule.  Treat others as you would like to be treated.  In this case, make a special effort even if you have to write it down on your appointment calendar to recognize, praise, and appreciate your boss every now and then.  It doesn’t hurt.  It truly can only help.  Their job is not an easy one and sometimes their pay turns out to be less than employees when they put in a lot of extra hours.  It’s the least we can do!  Imagine a world where this was the culture or future focus of training programs.


About the Author

Donna Rogers, SPHR

Donna is Founder and CEO of Rogers HR Consulting. She has a Master’s in human resources development from UIUC, a Bachelor’s in Public Relations from ISU and two associate degrees in Information Management and Pre-Business Administration. She has maintained a senior HR certification since 2001 and earned two additional HR certifications as late as 2019. She regularly delivers numerous presentations among professionals at meetings, seminars, and conferences locally, nationally, and internationally. She is on Twitter as @RogershrConsult

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