Cutting Through Cynicism With Authentic Appreciation – Part I

March 31, 2016 11:04 am Published by


“Are you kidding me? They don’t care about us.”


“They don’t give a rip about me. It’s all about my performance.

If I meet my performance goals, they’re happy. If I don’t, I’m gone.”  

As I’ve worked with more facilities across the country, I’ve become aware that a large number of employees have a very cynical reaction to any discussion of positive communication from their supervisors, and sometimes, even their co-workers. The lack of genuineness in communicating appreciation may be the single biggest barrier to positive workplace relationships.

One of the contributing factors to these underlying attitudes of cynicism has to do with performance-based recognition programs. While being recognized for good work can be quite helpful, when over-used (or used inappropriately) then problems arise. There are fundamental differences between recognition and appreciation, and when performance-based recognition is used to try to communicate appreciation for the individual, negative reactions result.

Two problematic themes of recognition programs have become clear: (1) the resentment of only being valued when one performs well; and (2) a distrust of the genuineness of any positive messages sent by supervisors to their team members.

Supervisors and managers need to remember that their employees are people, not just “work units”, and they want to be valued for who they are not just what they do at work. They have characteristics (for example, a cheerful personality) that can be valued and appreciated, even though it may not make them more “productive”.

And while the concept of authenticity is not that difficult to understand, there are some deeper questions that raise important issues regarding perceived inauthenticity: Who determines authenticity? Is authenticity based in reality or perception? What causes people not to believe others are genuine?

I’ll explore these questions further in the next weeks, coming soon!

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March 31, 2016 11:04 am

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