Tools & Tips

Recognition: A systematic need in our business culture, but …

Recognition is a strategy that we all use to feel competent – to feel good enough.

There is nothing wrong with giving a pat on the back, but as a society we have come to rely upon it to prop up our self-esteem. If we need recognition from others to feel good and we perceive that we don’t get it, we get frustrated. This frustration can then lead to negative emotion, rebellion and, in some cases, ego driven childishness.

A powerful, authentic leader does not need recognition to feel good. They know that their skills, approaches and leadership are making a difference. They get on with the job, leaving self-consciousness behind, negating the need for others to confirm how great they are.

Sadly most of our leaders are not driven by their own expressions of humility but rather by their egos. The pursuit of financial reward and career status to demonstrate individual success is a self-assurance strategy. Just as control freaks write lists upon lists and have the complete inability to delegate, egotistical leaders begin to arrogantly believe that they deserve recognition and a clear and successful career path.

What most do not consciously realise is that recognition is out of our individual control and is more about the individual needing it than the fundamental practice of recognition in its own right.

The need for recognition is systematic in our business culture. It is driven by the use of competency based assessment and the tendency to pigeon-hole personalities, while pointing out development needs and weaknesses. Recognition is now seen as a necessity in our people strategy and yet the need for it not only creates a population of people who feel vulnerable and insecure, it also creates rebellion and a “them and us” situation when reward schemes are set in place to highlight a minority.

Business leaders and managers today often become the person that they believe others need to see in order to be viewed as competent and succeeding. Throw in a lack of self-awareness and you have a combustible mix of negative directional style, ego, control and disengagement. Managers have come to need recognition as a crutch. Internally it becomes all about us; what we need and what we aren’t getting. We either acutely feel the lack of self-esteem, sulk or push.

Choosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from

via HR Magazine – Why needing recognition is a clear sign of emotional immaturity.


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