It’s something we have all probably experienced. A lack of appreciation from your employer can be soul destroying. You work hard, dedicate time and effort to getting your results noticed but it feels like you are banging your head against a brick wall. Your manager might occasionally thank you for completing a project on time but there’s always something to criticise. Or worse, others get promoted whilst you get passed over year after year. Maybe a promotion is not of interest to you but that elusive pay rise never seems to materialise and you can’t figure out why.
When we feel acknowledged and appreciated, this can fulfil a need which we consider important in any kind of relationship. It uplifts us, spurs us on and makes us feel valuable to a team. I feel even more motivated when somebody expresses to me how they benefited from my work or what they like about it. Encouragement to do better and constructive feedback can also motivate me to make an extra effort.
More often than not, managers do not have the soft skills to give effective feedback or to give credit where it is due. Some people may not be able to express their feelings of appreciation, they may have been raised in an environment where too much praise might be thought of as inducing arrogance which is undesirable.They may even see you as a threat to their own job which makes them feel insecure.
If you’re struggling to understand what’s going on, here are four key reasons your work is going unnoticed. This advice comes with a warning: it requires recognition of your own actions and communication which is not always easy to accept.
- You are not communicating assertively. You may not always be appreciated for every piece of work you do which makes sense in a busy office. If, however, you notice that none of your work is ever acknowledged, take an honest look at how you communicate your need for appreciation. Are you in the habit of drawing your manager’s attention to work that you want to get noticed? Do you actively ask for credit? I know that for some people that doesn’t come easily but there is nothing wrong with communicating to your manager that you perceive that your work goes unnoticed and you would like to know why. Having an open and honest conversation about it will improve your relationship and from there you can gauge whether things improve.
- Your manager doesn’t know how you would like to be appreciated. Think about what it means to be acknowledged and appreciated. I feel most appreciated when I am thanked for doing a good job or when certain aspects of my work are noticed. For some people, it means a pay rise and/or a promotion. You could also give your manager important constructive feedback by telling them when you felt unappreciated and what you would like instead.
- Your self-esteem depends too much on appreciation. If your mood and self-esteem depend on being praised and appreciated by your manager, this may indicate low confidence or low self-worth. Your value should not depend on another person’s approval. When seeking acknowledgment, we are making sure that the other person knows we have value and we are aware of it. It’s a fundamental way of expressing that you are not a door mat! It’s not about making sure you are liked or that you are thought of well. If you fall into that category, you may need to work on how you see your value. This isn’t strictly linked to why your manager doesn’t appreciate you but it will help you put things into perspective.
- They don’t have the skills or time to realise your value. It’s not always about you. You could be communicating expertly to a pattern of failures to recognise your talent in any real way. If you feel that your efforts to improve your relationship with your manager are being ignored, then consider whether you really want to continue working for such an employer. The same goes for any other type of relationship.
When we feel unappreciated and unacknowledged but do nothing to satisfy that very important need, we may react angrily or aggressively. Worse still, we may bottle up how we feel and erode our own self-esteem. Unresolved conflict festers. It eats away at you, makes you unhappy and probably has an effect on your life outside of work.
If you can communicate constructively to avoid conflict with your manager, then saving a relationship could be crucial to your future career. If there is no willingness to do that on your manager’s part, then I would strongly suggest considering other employment options. Moving on to greener pastures is sometimes your best conflict resolution strategy in some circumstances.
As always, I’d love your feedback! Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!