Desire to be Recognized

Interested in knowing my coaching client’s number one complaint? Too many work hours? No, though many do work a tremendous number. Too little pay? Think again. Crazy boss? You are closer. People’s dissatisfaction is based on a desire to be recognized for what they do and how they do it. Doesn’t seem to matter if the person is an intern or senior partner, most individuals long for some positive feedback and are just not getting it. So what does this have to do with business and the bottom line — everything. The people I am thinking about are fabulous employees. It would be hard and expensive, if not impossible, to replace them. If we asked their supervisors what they thought of them they would give excellent reviews. The problem is they haven’t told the person in a very long time, if ever.

My first job out of college was for such a person. If you saw or know about The Devil Wears Prada and think bosses like her don't exist, speak with me. Besides doing all of her writing, managing her calendar and calls, shopping the wholesale fabric/apparel markets, I also bought and wrapped her Christmas gifts, called her boyfriend and cancelled their dates and made her lunch. This was the job. The average assistant lasted six months, I survived two and half years. Late one night near the end of my first year, while unlocking the door, she said to me “by the way you’re getting a raise” then closed the door behind me. It was months later that I found my review in the files. It was glowing. I felt cheated. When I finally quit, tired of the screaming and the blaming, she actually cried telling me I was the best assistant she ever had, asking how could she keep me. Of course it was too late. But what would it have taken? Not much. She could have given me the review in person. On one of the 15 Post-Its she pasted to my desk each morning she could have said “Thank you”. How about giving me credit in public once in a while. Harriette was immensely talented and very flawed. She taught me a lot but what probably stuck the longest is how not to treat people.

So if we are going to change things in the workplace what can we do? Call this your homework.

  1. Write a list of everything you do really well. Enumerate all of your achievements in the past year. Read it out loud to yourself. Confident people give the best praise.
  2. Make a list of your employees and/or colleagues who are really pulling their weight, making your job easier and who you would miss if they left. Make a point of telling them so. (I was in the habit of keeping a list of my top ten employees nationwide. Once a month I would make a point of telling them face-to-face or by phone how much they were valued).
  3. Establish formal ways of recognizing achievement other then salary and bonus. Make it a company event.
  4. Finally have the discussion with you supervisor. Ask to be told what you are doing right so you can do more of it. He/she may be uncomfortable at first but for many people it breaks the ice.

Jane Cranston is an executive coach, career coach and “The Job Search Expert” based in New York City. She shares with success driven executives and professionals techniques, skills and goal setting strategies that advance their careers, increase people management skills and assists them in career change or job search. Receive Jane’s free "Competitive Edge Report" and the free audio download “Creating a Career Strategy” by visiting

About the Author

Jane Cranston - Executive Coach NY (New York)Executive and career coach, “The Job Search Expert,” Jane Cranston understands the challenges and opportunities in the workplace. She integrates years of experience as an accomplished senior executive with global brand name companies, with the lessons learned from opening three successful businesses, and then applies her education and coach training. This sophisticated mix affords her clients her unique perspective, business sensibility, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Jane is the founder and Managing Director of ExecutiveCoachNY, an executive and career coaching business based in New York City with clients nationwide. She coaches success-driven executives and managers to develop a career strategy that accelerates advancement, increases compensation, enhances people-management skills as well as gets the competitive edge in all business activities.

Coaching with Jane is dynamic, structured, forward-focused as well as fun and inspirational. Working with clients in fields such as finance, technology, media and entertainment, real estate, and the law, she assists them in recognizing and achieving their full potential at work and in their personal lives.

Clients claim coaching with Jane has “changed my career focus,” “helped me better understand how to motivate my staff,” “given me ideas that have increased my income by $100,000s,” and “made me realize what is my part and what isn’t,” and claim coaching is “the best thing you could do for yourself.”

Jane’s soon to be published “Great Job Tough Times” is a step-by-step job search system designed to assist managers and executives looking for employment, or contemplating leaving their current positions, with their resume writing, interviewing skills, networking techniques, and negotiating need to get the right job fast.

Jane Cranston is frequently seen on CNN’s “Your Money” and quoted in nationally syndicated newspapers, magazines, as well as Internet article sites and virtual programs. She authors the free, twice monthly, “Competitive Edge Report.” Learn more on her website


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