Learn and Lead

About continual learning and leadership

Great Work is not Recognized

I recently read this in one of the blogs that I follow (which unfortunately I can’t remember, apologies).

Great work is not recognized by managers, exceptional work is. Great work is expected from you anyway.

This is so true. I have heard many people complain that they got no recognition for the work they did. In some cases they said they got no recognition for the great work they did.

So how can we do exceptional work that will be noticed and recognized? Well, to start with stop focusing on getting recognition and start focusing on doing an exceptional job. So many of us spend hours worrying about not being recognized for our great work. I suggest we start worrying about doing an exceptional job. Recognition WILL follow. Exceptional work never goes unnoticed and consistent exceptional work is ALWAYS recognized. True, there may be projects where you felt you did an exceptional job but didn’t get recognized for it. However if you spend time worrying about it, you will take your focus off the next project and end up doing, well, a great job but not an exceptional job. So stay focused and don’t let small disappointments come in your way of doing an exceptional job all the time.

Photo by: bowbrick / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Thomas R. Stone said...

I agree with you here. Unfortunately, at least in the USA (I can't speak to other parts of the world), I suspect we are only starting to see the tip of this iceberg in organizations. The problem is that many years ago schools here fell under the spell of what is often called the "self-esteem movement", wherein children were praised for just about everything they did, answers were marked correct based on effort and not truth, and in some athletics at some ages they outlawed keeping score. I don't want to over-generalize, and make any broad, universal claims about an entire generation... but I think most would agree that people my age and younger, particularly those entering the workforce now, have generally speaking been praised and had their self-esteem built up far too much throughout their childhoods, and that ultimately reality will meet them face to face. Some will react and adjust to this learning better than others will. My point is just to note that I think you're describing one aspect of a bigger problem, and one that will likely get worse before it gets better (at least in the USA).

Manish Mohan said...

While the education system hasn't quite spoilt the children here in India, I see that the abundance of jobs in the IT/ITES sector in the last 10 years or so, coupled with the shortage of skills has definitely spoilt the youth who have entered the workforce in the last few years. Companies have pampered the workforce far too much. I think the recent recession has been a good wakeup call to this relatively new workforce, at least in India.

IVY said...

Hi - Apart from the points mentioned by the others, I have something to add:

Not all worry about recognition too, it is basically a performer, who was once/many time recognized for his/her great work earlier, starts complaining if the same gets delayed for a while. As they feel any work from them is great and the same demands recognition.

It is not their fault always too!
I feel, project owners/managers many times, fail to provide critical feedback to their teams.

Critical feedback apart from appreciation and kudos for a project will guide the team understand the essence of success and achievement. This will basically educate what they are and what is expected from them timely. Apart from the individual's longing for recognition, it becomes the responsibility of managers/project leaders to have this feedback sharing session open for a positive work atmosphere.

According to me Recognition always carries a hidden word:
"Exceptional performance"

Performance should be timely validated to make the individual understand how there work was ?
Was it just

Anonymous said...

Very true but none of us like to get no recognition at all. It shows truly bad management if you fail to recognize what your staff are doing at all. Many of us start of at the bottom and know what it is like to feel this way, however it does not make it OK to allow the same pattern to continue when we are in charge.

Anonymous said...

you article is very shallow and not has taken all the aspect in place. It looks like you have no understanding of human matter in this context. you are young but stupid and all you need is this platform to talk about your shallow thoughts

Anonymous said...

this is nothing, at my work place and also very often, pretentious characters who are favored by the management get awarded while others who really work never get awarded. There's also a certain degree of racism hence the fact why I've never been awarded!

Anonymous said...

Whoever wrote this article is F@#k'n idiot! YOU KNOW NOTHING OF THE REAL WORLD!! What kind of advise is: "Well, to start with stop focusing on getting recognition and start focusing on doing an exceptional job. So many of us spend hours worrying about not being recognized for our great work. I suggest we start worrying about doing an exceptional job." WELL, let me start by telling you about saving a project, meeting deadlines, saving company few million dollars, working all hours of the day and night and at the end people you trained get all the credit!! Bottom line its who's ass you kiss the hardest and who likes it the most.

Anonymous said...

The suggestion that you gave is a typical of a Manager who became manager just because he is older and senior than the rest. They do not have real Project manger skills. People threatened their manager that they would leave the company and they were awarded or even sent abroad on long term "on-site" assignments. Those who never made any NOISE and actually kept doing the exceptional work were given raise like peanuts and was made sure that they would stick with the same project and manager. Otherwise the manager will be screwed if the health of the project suffers.

I understand that SEEKING recognition is also a cheap way of getting the limelight. I also agree that recognition will follow if you continue doing the exceptional work. However, this recognition will make you popular as an expert and not necessarily get you any award, raise or better opportunity.

This suggestion should be considered as moral and not as professional. Using these kind of suggestions and words, the managers save their ass and favor others on the cost of actual workers.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employers and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of my employers.

Creative Commons License This work by Manish Mohan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 India License.