The Little Things That Build a Solid Foundation

Sometimes, particularly when you are low on the organizational chart, it can be easy to feel like the people in charge either don’t value you or don’t even know what you contribute to the organization. In these cases, it can be hard to feel invested in your work and your organization. You are also more likely to take any lack of acknowledgement as an intentional slight. For example, your manager may ask you to do some research for a report he is making for the CEO. You may work hard on finding what she needs without your manager telling the CEO that you were the person who uncovered the information.

One way to combat this as a manager is to be sure to acknowledge the work of all employees but this isn’t always possible or practical. Sometimes, managers just need to present that PowerPoint deck that their employee worked on all weekend without taking time out to credit all of that employee’s hard work.

However, a good manager can still do this without making the employee feel like their work is taken for granted. Making an employee feel valued does not require, or even involve, name-dropping in higher profile contexts. It is a process that happens over the course of time.

When a manager trusts an employee to take on important tasks or seeks out his input for little things, that manager is building a relationship with that employee that shows that he is valued. Likewise, when a manager simply says thank you when an employee hands her a stack of documents or takes the time to do a thorough performance review she is showing that she knows what that employee does and that she acknowledges the hard work that employee puts into the organization.

When that foundation is formed, employees are much less likely to spend time complaining or moping about not being valued. The team becomes more resilient. Team members are less likely to feel disconnected from their organizations which is helpful for limiting turnover. Most importantly, they are more able to take a bigger picture view of their role in the organization so that they can see their own value and be less reliant on every possible bit of praise that may come their way.

How do you strengthen your team’s foundation?


  1. Dear Dr. Leiter:

    Right now, I’m in the process of coordinate a group of psychologists ina correctional center. I’ve found that their complaints are about lack of recognition of their professional skills. They used to work filling forms and now the team has decided to implement each one’s experience in a three month pilot experience in order to create a set of efficient tools in ofenders rehabilitation.

    I’ll take into account your advice


    1. Heriberto
      Recognition is a vital part of building a strong team. I hope that the points in the post are useful to you and your colleagues.

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