Acknowledgments That Transform Us

Some acknowledgments really stick out in our minds and we remember them years later. One of the acknowledgments I remember is opening a Christmas card from one of my former bosses that said “I hope our paths will cross again one day soon - maybe me working for you!” Those fewwords had a huge impact on me. I felt seen and acknowledged as a leader. It shifted what I believed I was capable of doing and created a bigger place for me to grow into.

On the flip side, when I’m giving an acknowledgment I like to watch how it lands and the impact it has. My favourite was in the hot tub with my son when he was about 7 years old. He was standing in the middle of the hot tub telling me a great story. I looked him right in the eye and said clearly and slowly, “Devon, you are so funny”. A huge smile that went right up to his eyes spread across his face. He let himself fall into my arms. The acknowledgement landed! And interestingly, 6 years later, he just wrote a poem for school and the two words he used to describe himself are athletic and funny.

The bottom line is acknowledgments matter. They help us see our biggest and best self and they have the power to transform us.

So here are a few tips on giving acknowledgements. The best are often short and sweet. They acknowledge who the person was being as opposed to what they did. For example, “you were very compelling up there” vs. “your presentation was really good”. How you say it is important too. Take the extra 30 seconds to look them in the eye, have them know you mean it, and let it land. Most importantly, just do it.

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