Paycheck Does Not Equal Appreciation

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By on March 6, 2015 in Leadership with 0 Comments

How do you feel when you get your paycheck each week? Do you feel appreciated for your work?

Or do you feel… not seen, not appreciated, like just another cog in the government wheel?

And supervisors, how many times has this thought crossed your mind:

“My direct reports complain they don’t feel appreciated. APPRECIATED? REALLY? I mean they get paid every two weeks. Is that not appreciation enough?!”

Ahh yes… this is a classic Mindset Mistake. It’s the Mindset Mistake that says Paycheck = Appreciation

Let me explain.

Do you remember your high school psychology days, and ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’? That was the pyramid that had basic needs like food and shelter on the bottom, then safety/security, then belonging, then self-esteem, and then self-actualization on the top.

While this is a simplified version of the model, there are two important things for you to know:

1) The need to feel appreciated, like you matter, to feel that someone knows you exist as a human is a human need that is hardwired into our DNA.

2) For many people, appreciation is also tied to a feeling of safety and security. ‘Does my boss know I’m here? Am I doing ok? Am I secure in my job?’

In these days of tight budgets and limited promotions, appreciation is more important than ever!

Now it’s true – appreciation won’t pay the bills. Appreciation will, however, help you and those around you be more tolerant, more resilient, and more creative when it comes to meeting the challenges of the job.

(Not a supervisor? Your boss needs appreciation too. So do your spouse and kids!)

Showing appreciation is easy to do.

For the next two weeks I want you to try this:

Deliberately NOTICE when someone in your office or life does something that leaves you feeling supported, encouraged, inspired, or otherwise makes your world a better place.

Then, TELL THEM about it!

Start the sentence with “What I appreciate about you is___________” and fill in the blank.

In a lot of ways, spreading appreciation is a lot like Smile Sniping. It’s a way to connect with a person, on a human-to-human basis and make sure that other person knows that they are seen, they are supported, and they are appreciated for their contributions. Spreading appreciation allows you to connect soul-to-soul and contribute to that other person feeling safe and secure.

So I challenge you to spread the appreciation. Try spreading honest appreciation, every day, the next two weeks and see how your life changes.

© 2019 Martha (Austin) Wilson. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Martha (Austin) Wilson.

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About the Author

Martha (Austin) Wilson is a retired CIA Operations Officer, leadership instructor, transformational coach and the founder of Greatness In Government, a leadership and personal development firm that specializes in re-energizing mid-career government employees. Organizations that are struggling with complaints about bad leaders, discrimination, bullying and other symptoms of employee dissatisfaction hire her when they are ready for a fresh approach to leadership training. She also provides private coaching to high-potential government employees who have decided to assume responsibility for their own personal and professional development.

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