The Power of Quiet Acknowledgement

Apr 12, 2012 | Career Development

Featured guest post by Kemetia MK Foley, CAP-OM

Before we know it, Administrative Professionals Week® will be here.  Perhaps your supervisor or your company does something to recognize the administrative staff in the company—gift, cards, flowers, or maybe treat you to a lunch. Many administrative professionals attend social and/or educational events sponsored by IAAP® chapters in their local region.

The debate seems to arrive about this time every year.  Why recognize admins for doing their job?  Companies don’t recognize accountants week or marketing manager week—if they exist.  Or the additional argument comes from within the administrative community… with some administrative professionals not wanting any special recognition and some of the admin community clamoring for ‘American Idol’ levels of recognition because they feel so unappreciated.

I have a different thought about how we approach this week.  I call it the Power of Quiet Acknowledgement.

What if, instead of one week or one specific day of recognition for administrative professionals, Human Resource professionals encouraged individuals to recognize hard work and extra time dedicated to projects by all employees.  What if the recognition meant that each employee took a moment or two, walked from their desk to another co-worker’s cubicle and said, “Hey—you got a minute?  I just wanted to say thanks for staying late to stuff envelopes for that mailing last week.  I know you have a long commute and I appreciated it.”  Stunning, right? Face to face discussions?  Unheard of!

What if the senior management team decided that the way to recognize their administrative support team was to quietly place a notecard in their mailbox…a notecard that acknowledged a specific task that helped keep the flow of the office running smoothly? What if the employee, administrative support or not, received this kind of acknowledgement throughout the entire year… and not just at holidays or commercialized obligatory events?

Having a team member take two to three minutes of their time to recognize one of your specific accomplishments or a specific task that you partnered with them to complete in a verbal, personal, genuine commentary would probably be worth way more than flowers or a lunch or a gift card.  Acknowledge the challenges that your fellow staff members face.  Acknowledge quietly to that individual staff member that human resources and budget options don’t always allow for the kind of thanks that would be ostentatious and obvious. Acknowledge that you are glad they are part of the team…even when you disagree or don’t always approach tasks with the same style or energy.

I am not saying that I don’t love a good Dunkin’ Donuts gift card for APW® or being taken out to lunch as recognition of my status as an administrative professional.  I am saying that each of us – management, middle management, support staff and teammates – need to utilize the most underutilized of tools…a genuine, heartfelt , face-to face “Thank you for your help.”

That would be the power of quiet acknowledgement.

© 2012 Julie Perrine International, LLC

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