Why does recognition matter?

Jiana Barrera, Courier Staff

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Recognition is a hard subject for many to comprehend. The word itself can seem foreign, and make the task at hand seem even farther out of reach.

By dictionary definition, according to the Oxford dictionary, recognition is the “acknowledgment of something’s existence, validity or legality.” This definition can make it seem even more strange; acknowledging someone’s existence? How might we do that? Why does it matter? Well, to myself and many others, recognition is a bit different from the dictionary definition and what the word may mean at face value. Recognition is when you make others around you know that they are valued and appreciated, that you see everything they are accomplishing and you are proud of them and happy for them and their accomplishments.

Recognition has such a monumental value. It is proven through many studies that when workers feel underappreciated or not valued, that is when their motivation begins to die. You could have the happiest, most excited person for a job, and after months of not being recognized for what they are doing and the effort they put in, they will become burned out. Recognition is something that makes people keep pushing and doing well, even on a hard day. Who doesn’t love being valued and appreciated for all that they do? Exactly. No one, because everyone loves a little recognition now and then, even those that may never voice that opinion.

There are many ways to recognize someone. These ways can go from verbal words of affirmation or writing notes of appreciation, all the way to gifts or taking someone out for dinner. There is no “best” way to recognize someone, because everyone is different in what kind of recognition they receive the best. What some may prefer as recognition may not be the same as what their best friend may prefer. Personally, I prefer words of affirmation or a nice letter to a gift of monetary value, but again that is all based upon my personal likes and dislikes. A good way to gauge what the best way to recognize someone, may be through asking them in passing, or through a process of trial and error. Recognition does not have to be a huge “to-do,” a simple note will normally be enough to make any person feel valued.

One way that you can recognize amazing things and wonderful people on campus is through an “Of the Month” or an OTM, which is something that an organization I am a part of does. It is (simply put) a small essay on how someone went above and beyond in a given month. The individual you write the OTM for gets to read what you write, and it can even move on the regional and national levels. How amazing would it be to recognize a friend or co-worker, and then they also get recognized on a regional or national level? If you’re interested in learning more about recognition in general or about OTMs, feel free to reach out to me at te-wheat@wiu.edu.

Unfortunately, many people have the best ideas and intentions for recognition, but just can’t seem to find the time to do it. One important thing to keep in mind when you are feeling too burnt out or just can’t find the time to recognize someone, is to think of what it would feel like if in that moment you were recognized for all you are doing. It’d probably feel pretty great, because being recognized does feel amazing. It is the gift that keeps on giving.

So, the next time you are thinking of how amazing someone in your life, work or organization is – tell them! Whether it is through a simple note, an OTM or something else, find your style of how you want to recognize others and roll with it. You won’t regret it.

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