Appreciation. And Ownership.

I promised to reflect back on a conversation with SN – ownership and the need for appreciation.

Scene: After a very long and frustrating day of work where tempers are flared, deliverables are affected, the manager has been visibly unhappy with the proceedings, and you barely scrape to the finish line. Has most likely happened to all of us at one point or the other. That is exactly the moment someone decides to confront the manager – “You don’t appreciate us. All the hard work we put in. You just don’t appreciate.” Ouch!

Déjà vu anyone?

Side note: This is extremely reminiscent of relationships of the boy-girl kinds, and occasionally, the parents-children kinds.

The reactions I’ve observed from managers (including myself) are –

  • WTF??????
  • Appreciation? What? How? When?
  • What does s/he mean by that?
  • Give me something to appreciate damn it.
  • What was that just now? If not appreciation?
  •  You still have your job despite all the f*** ups. Isn’t that appreciation enough?
  • You’ve got to be kidding me!
  • Cut me some slack, will ya?
  • That so? Hmm. Didn’t realize.
  • Hmm. Will try and appreciate from hereon. Thanks for bringing it up. I know it’s hard man! (or some version thereof)

The lone wolf hopes against hope that the last and the least probabilistic outcome happens. But well!

There are two sides of the story, all the time –
The top-down story:

  • We are under the kind of pressure that you cannot imagine right now (P&L, salaries, collections, quality perception, client breathing down our neck, the next client, etc.). While I shield you from all that, I expect you to hold your end of the bargain – engagement/product delivery/ product release, etc. I expect you to do work which you own, which is error free, and which can hold itself up to the highest standards of quality. And if you don’t, does the hardwork count for much?
  • It’s a hard fought race and everyone’s running hard. At the end of it , you end up on the podium. Or not. And then, appreciation comes in two formats –On the podium, the pat on the back, the high fives, the whistles, the champagnes. In the backroom, you all hug each other, wish luck for the next time, and get ready for another one.
  • If you have time to cry, you have time to get more done. I don’t get time to appreciate myself either. And I can’t wait for someone’s appreciation to make it work. And work better.
  • Didn’t you walk in saying you are the smartest go-getter thing since Kamaal R Khan? Prove it!
  • Sometimes, just accept that our experiences might have made us a shade wiser and humbler. Also, we are the ones getting busted out there. Can you for once, just take what I am asking you to do and get it done? Why does the world always have to be perfect?

The analysts’ view

  • Is it my problem that you don’t have a life?
  • Is it my problem that I have 4975 friends on facebook who all are as active as me? And that I need to know? And Like their updates? Otherwise, they won’t like mine?
  • Isn’t number of hours and face time considered to be the metric for performance?

OK! Jokes apart –

  •  You never told me that we were signing up for this?
  • I am just starting here. So, I will make mistakes. Is it that big a crime to make mistakes?
  • It just gets hard when the air is so intense all the time
  • I actually had no idea what the work is going to be like. I am not sure if I am enjoying it.
  • What’s the need to shout when the same thing can be said nicely?
  • I need some coaching here, and I am not getting it.
  • That guy does not work half as much as me in his project. Or, her manager is so cool about coming late/ working from home.
  • How were you doing it when you were an analyst?

I have no intention of sitting in judgment here. And employee motivation and mentoring is a field of research of its own. Just that it was an interesting discussion about an oft discussed topic 🙂

 

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3 responses to this post.

  1. hehe..don’t be so harsh…just smile when he asks for appreciation…poor guy, he works hard too..like u :))

    Reply

  2. i so agree with that “The lone wolf hopes against hope that the last and the least probabilistic outcome happens.”

    Reply

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