If you want to be appreciated, act like it.

You’ve likely heard it said that Millennials crave appreciation and without it, they struggle in the work place. But truth be told, that pretty much describes all of us, regardless generational label or spot within the organizational pecking order. An affirming word from the boss makes a gray day sunny and a tough job tolerable.


So don’t just sit there waiting for your supervisor to toss some praise your way. If you want appreciation, act like it. Or so advises an article from Harvard Business Review.

Specifically, author Amy Gallo has rounded up five tips on how to “best interact with your manager to get what you need, support her success, and excel at your job.” Here’s a quick look at Gallo’s pointers, with my commentary on the side.


1. Always bring solutions – not problems – to your boss. It’s easy to whine about what’s wrong and bosses get plenty of that. But come with answers, with a proposal for something other than business as usual, and watch your supervisor’s eyes light up. Better yet, sell the solutions as the boss’s own. “Frame your proposed answer to the problem as consistent with what the boss has said in the past. You might say: ‘We can do x, which I know you’ve suggested before.’”

2. Never cry in front of your boss. If you feel like you’re close to tears, postpone the meeting. “Controlling your emotions is a sign of emotional intelligence,” states Linda Hill, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and co-author of Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation and Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader. So take a deep breath, bite your lip, or whatever it takes to hold back the water works. An itty, bitty tear could let you down.

3. Under-promise and over-deliver. This one reminds me of the parable from the Gospel of Matthew about two sons, one of whom says he will work and then doesn’t and the other, who says he won’t but then does. As the HBR article puts it, “when you promise your boss that you’re going to convert five customers this week, that’s your anchor offer. If you actually convert seven, then you’ve smartly managed his expectation.”

4. Don’t be friends with your boss. Okay, so you’ve heard it’s lonely at the top, but that’s not your problem to fix. Hill warns that “you can be friendly but don’t get confused. This isn’t like other relationships. If your boss has to choose between what’s best for you and what’s best for the enterprise, he’s likely to choose the latter.”

5. Let your work speak for itself – not. Within the Christian community in particular, tooting your own horn is seen as unseemly. But occasionally, it’s necessary to pick up the old trumpet and blow. Don’t presume “what evidence your manager has for your accomplishments and competence. . . If you haven’t given her enough, find ways to present your work or talk about the results you’ve delivered recently.”

Which brings us back to the title of this article — if you want to be appreciated, act like it. Assuming, of course, that you deserve it.

What's your take on this topic?

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