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How to Get Better at Receiving Recognition and Why It'll Change Your Life

One of my pet peeves is when people don’t accept compliments. And yet I’m THE WORST at it. I’m notorious for shrugging off someone’s nice words—words that they said with purpose, to encourage me and lift me up.

Why do we do this?

Deep down we all want recognition. As much as we say we don’t, it’s nice to be seen, heard, and valued. Bottom line.

My theory is that we’re bad at receiving recognition because we get uncomfortable and feel embarrassed. We don’t like being the center of attention. Or maybe we don’t want to admit that we need people’s praise, so we act like we don’t. And even though we know we should be better at receiving recognition, we don’t know how.

Well, listen up friends! Our recognition experts have put their heads together, and today we’re sharing not only HOW to get better at receiving recognition, but WHY it’ll change your life. Check it out:


Our Tips for Getting Better at Receiving Recognition

1. Talk to your manager about how you prefer to be recognized.

What works for extroverts may not work for introverts, but your manager may not know that. People deserve to be recognized in ways that resonate with their personality.

For example: Introverts may prefer quiet celebrations instead of big events. And they may want to be recognized one-on-one (informal) vs. in front of a group of people (formal). So, instead of going out to lunch with the whole team, politely let your manager know you’d rather go with just a few key people.

Or, another example: Suggest that a work-from-home day would be a great reward for a job well done (informal) rather than receiving a trophy, plaque, or other public display of achievement (formal).

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, as Dr. Laura Trice so eloquently puts it in her simple 3-minute TED Talk.


2. Step into the giver’s shoes.

When you give recognition to others, how do you feel when they “reject” it? Not good! Especially since you took the time and made the effort to share words of affirmation, get them a little gift, or another form of appreciation for their hard work. When they get overly shy or say it wasn’t a big deal or say that you didn’t need to do what you did, it diminishes the thought behind the act.

So, in situations where you’re on the receiving end of recognition, think instead of how you feel when someone accepts what you give. And then accept what your co-worker or manager is giving.


3. Read between the lines.

When managers or co-workers give affirmation, they may not say the exact words you long to hear. When you’re working late for the fifth time this week or organizing yet another event even though it’s NOT in your job description, and all they say is "great job," it’s easy to feel that you’re being driven into the ground. You’re great at your job, which they recognize, but they just don't know how to say it . . . which leads to you feeling like they take you for granted.

In those moments, it's important to read between the lines. Though the words they say may be simple—like the “great job” mentioned above or maybe “this is good work”—but what they’re really saying is that they appreciate the work you do. They don’t take you for granted, and they know how much they need you.


4. Thank them back.

When someone acknowledges that you’re an important part of the team—that they need you and appreciate you—keep your response short and sweet. You can thank them back for the kind words, share a compliment of your own, or say a simple “You’re welcome.” Just be sure to make eye contact and be sincere, because like giving recognition, receiving it should be done with the correct tone and body language.


5. Create a culture of recognition.

This one speaks more to companies than individuals. As a company, you can lead the way for your employees! If you don’t already have a culture of recognition, it may be unexpected for employees to give out recognition at all, which can contribute to not receiving recognition well. However, if you establish a culture of recognition, your employees will get better at both giving it and receiving it.

For example: Here at RecogNation, we know that recognition should be frequent. Though I’m not great at receiving recognition, I know that it’s coming, and I’m more prepared mentally to receive it. Plus, I know I’m not the only one. My co-workers and managers are great at giving recognition, and so I know I should be good about receiving it.


Why It’ll Change Your Life

1. You’ll feel better.

Honestly, most of the benefits of recognition come from how you feel rather than what exactly was said. When receiving recognition, you feel great—appreciated, accepted, part of the team, valued, connected, respected, and so much more!


2. You’ll work harder.

Because you know your work has value (and that people recognize that value), you’ll be driven to work harder. You just might find that you have a little extra spring in your step . . . a little more intentionality in your actions . . . a little more focus behind your tasks . . . and a little more purpose behind your work.


3. You’ll gain a better perspective.

If you have to grin and bear anything, recognition is the best of all options. So, lean in and accept the good vibes, friend. It’ll change your perspective. Keep our tips in mind, and you’ll be less likely to brood over the fact that people aren’t giving recognition because 1) they ARE giving it—you’re just not accepting it well, and 2) you’ll be too busy looking for the small things people have said and done that you would have missed before.


Easier Said Than Done

But, you’re not alone! With our help, you can start a positive culture revolution in your organization and keep it going—for each of your employees. Contact us today! Our team of experts would love to talk with you about our custom recognition solutions.

Request a FREE demo here, or call us at 888.919.7600 and ask to speak with one of our sales representatives.