Creating a Safe Environment for Authentic Dialogue

Through Acknowledgement


Acknowledgements are so powerful, yet way underutilized. Normally, we perceive acknowledgments as a pay-off or approval for having done something good.

We get stingy about whether or not the acknowledgement is deserved. The issue of "deserving" plays out in both the receiving and giving of acknowledgements.

True acknowledgement goes beyond "I like" or "I don’t like". Acknowledgement is a gift you give someone, allowing them to step into the vision of what you enjoy and appreciate about them. Powerful acknowledgements appreciate who they are underneath what they did or said.

Give someone an acknowledgment today and see what happens. Try using the following steps:

1. Stop first and ground yourself in appreciation for the other person. Feel a sense of admiration for their unique perspective and for your own.

2. Then, express your appreciation for what they do – specify actions they take with or for you.

3. Express appreciation for their way of being and their unique expression that underlies what they do or say.

4. Share the impact on you or others out of what they do and who they are being.

Example One: Joan thanking her administrative assistant, Terry…
A. Joan stops first to feel appreciation for the tender humanity of every person in the company, and for Terry’s part in that.
B. “Terry, I am so grateful to have you as my administrative assistant, and I appreciate the various ways you support me in my job by taking so much off my plate.”
C. “I particularly appreciate the gentle balance you achieve between intuitive service and structured organizing. You always seem to sense what I need in different situations.”
D. “Your quiet confidence lets me relax and focus on whatever task is before me, knowing that you are supporting me. I feel I am more successful because of you.”

Example Two: A consultant thanking a client…
A. The consultant stops first to feel appreciation for the client’s vision and for the potential of people in the organization.
B. “Sal, thank you for the opportunity to help bring about your vision for your team. I appreciate all the time you take to share your ideas and dreams with me.”
C. “Your commitment to encouraging real creativity on the team is rare in business these days. Your unflagging energy and astute perceptions equip you to lead in this challenging situation.”
D. “I feel inspired to do my best work with you and stretch myself to discover new ways to support you and your vision. I know that together we’ll set an example for the industry that will have national impact.”