How to get appreciation at work, whenever you want it

“I am just not appreciated round here” is a common complaint when people aren’t happy at work.   The other common one is They just don’t recognise what I do for them.

But hey ….

Should we expect appreciation when we are being paid anyway? Isn’t being paid and being kept on in our jobs all the appreciation and recognition we should expect?

OK, don’t all shout back at me at once! …..Just listen to my reasoning ….which is key to YOU being happy at work.   (Remember I rarely write about something I haven’t experienced myself, so I’ve been there …feeling unappreciated and it hurts!)

I don’t mean accepting bosses and management being rude or impolite, that’s not on.  It costs nothing to be asked to do something in the proper manner.

I mean, should we really expect our managers or bosses to say “You did a good job there” or “Well done!” or “Thanks for that” etc?

Taking control of your Appreciation

We all want and need appreciation, but the only way to get appreciation whenever you want it ….is to get out of the habit of NEEDING positive comments from others, in order to feel it.

Because one thing is for sure:-

  • we can’t control how often someone shows their appreciation and,
  • we can’t make them recognise what we’re doing for them.

What we can do, to make us feel a whole lot better, is to control our own reactions and feelings when we don’t get feedback.  Then when we do get it, it will be icing on the cake and that much sweeter.

How to get the “feeling appreciated” habit

1.   Start appreciating ourselves

Quite often, when we want lots of appreciation and recognition from others it is because we are not recognising our own worth often enough.  We are not saying to ourselves “I did a good job there” or “Wow, that was great customer service”.

Put it simply we are not patting ourselves on the back, so we want reinforcement from others in order to feel good.  So start today to appreciate yourself – write down what you did well today.  This isn’t something peculiar to just males or females, I find the need to appreciate ourselves more, is universal.

2.  Don’t expect appreciation

Those of us working in customer facing roles, know that many customers will not compliment you, but it doesn’t mean they weren’t happy with the service.  They will pay on time and they will often recommend you to others, but to your face they may say nothing.

It is easy when you start out in a role, to be “super sensitive” to a lack of positive feedback. As your confidence builds and you KNOW you are good at what you do, you realise that people show their appreciation in different ways, often by just “not moaning or complaining!!”.  Managers and bosses can be the same – you know everything was OK because they didn’t complain.

If you approach your relationship with all customers, (the external ones and bosses/collegues) as one where you don’t EXPECT appreciation.  Then you will not be disappointed, only pleasantly surprised when it comes along.

3.   Remember, it’s not all about you

One thing that can cause annoyance is when you have been used to praise in one job and you move to one where you don’t get it or where a manager who used to praise you just stops.   The thing to realise is “it is not all about you”.  People can have a lot on their plate, lots of pressures, and can just be relieved that things are getting done – their mind is not on giving praise.

Sometimes a boss doesn’t think you need it.  I have often told a boss how a member of their staff is feeling “unappreciated” and they reply “But they know they’re good!”  or they might say “I’m just too busy these days to keep telling them things are OK, I’d soon tell them if they weren’t”

So where does this leave you?

In Summary

We all need appreciation but we can’t rely on getting it from outside of ourselves SO, start today appreciating yourself.  Write down what you achieve each day….say it out-loud if necessary “I did a great job there”.

You will then control your own “appreciation tap” and you can turn it on when you need it!

Then any appreciation from others will be an unexpected bonus.

What is your experience of being appreciated at work?


  1. As a former member of The Unappreciated, I found that if you aren’t appreciated it’s because you aren’t doing the right thing for the right people. Appreciation is human currency, and when it doesn’t flow, something is wrong.

    There are people who blame others for not being appreciated, and if a good hard look reveals you are actually a star shining in a murky swamp of an emotionally stingy work environment, then buck up or get out.

    More often, you aren’t actually doing work that is “appreciatable.” Sorry, you can be the best barber in a Sihk village, and because nobody needs a haircut, you’ll never be recognized. Here’s an article I wrote about someone who didn’t understand his audience and got creamed by them.

    What I’ve found is that you need to actively research what people really need, not necessarily what then say they need. Help them meet that need, and you will find all the appreciation you will ever need. Besides, the satisfaction meeting people’s real needs is a much bigger reward.

    • Thanks for your comment David. Funny what you say about appreciation being human currency and if it is not flowing something is wrong.
      I agree, and believe sometimes when is it not flowing it can be that we are unappreciating ourselves – we attract what we give, if we are not recognising our own worth how will anyone else! Also when we have a healthy sense of self appreciation it tends to wake us up quickly when we are not being recognised and then we have the courage to move on.

    • “Appreciation is human currency, and when it doesn’t flow, something is wrong” because a monkey can’t deal with human currency. Man at least learn to appreciate yourself first, don’t bargain your self respect in market, don’t sell it try to gain it.

  2. Great article. I like that you put the responsibility on the person expecting gratitude first. We need to appreciate ourselves – it’s only in loving ourselves that we can truly love and appreciate others.

    Too many people get into the habit of expecting gratitude. If we simply help others for the joy WE experience while doing so, we will not only be happier, chances are good that we will start to receive more thankfulness as well.

    After a career in sales, I have had some great managers who expressed appreciation for me and some not-so-great managers who just wanted to know what I was going to do for them next. It was after my last experience with an ungrateful manager that I chose to leave the land of the W-2 (Employee tax form) and strike out on my own. I’ve never been so happy!

    • Lisa thanks for your feedback. Appreciation and gratitude are closely linked. The more we are grateful for all the good things our work gives us, and the difference we make each day, the less likely are we to need appreciation. But funnily enough, appreciation tends to come to use the less we look for it!

  3. sometimes happen when your boss doesn’t say anything on your work in front of their generally they scold you for this and say negative in this condition what to do

    • Thanks for your comment Pallavi. I am not sure I fully understand the situation you are in. Could you explain it in a little more detail? Did your boss praise other people in the team when speaking to his boss, but not mention you, so you feel that you are being scolded? or Has your boss actually said negative things directly to you about your work? I will aim to advise if you clarify.

  4. I believe Michele works for the HR dept.

    Yes you can and should be appreciated for the paid work you do. a Thank you or great job would do.

    this self programing idea sounds more like HR mind set for reduce their unhappy workers overall.

    thank you for your comment, I appreciate your effort.

    • Hi Jonas
      Thanks for your reply. I totally agree, that you “should” be appreciated for the paid work you do, thank you and great job are exactly what we all need. And in an ideal situation that is exactly what we get. My comments though are for all those people, me included in the past, who don’t feel appreciated but can’t just up and walk out on the job, because our manager isn’t doing their job right at the moment.

      Until we can leave, we want to feel good about ourselves. So we need to appreciate ourselves. It won’t come from anywhere else.

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