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The power of words

23 Apr 2021 | Kirstie Pickles


Reward and recognition is often equated with monetary payment or promotion, but sometimes a few simple words can be more powerful. In this blog, Kirstie Pickles explains why recognising this is important for motivating team members.

The power of words Image

When was the last time you thanked a colleague for a job well done?

It is so easy to be caught up in the day-to-day busyness of life and our own little microworld that we fail to see the people around us. We especially take for granted people who help us every day because they become part of the background wallpaper. It is often only when these people are suddenly not there, for illness or holiday, that we notice their value. What a nicer place the world would be if we actually recognised each other’s value more frequently.

When people think of reward and recognition, they often equate it with monetary payment or promotion. Of course that is nice, but unless you are exceedingly high flying, it is only going to happen every few years. What I believe is much more important is the small, frequent thank-you’s, or acknowledgment of a job really well done.

Like many others in the veterinary profession, I struggle with imposter syndrome. I also sometimes face additional anxieties due to being autistic, so perhaps I am more sensitive to this than some others. However, I have noticed that when I am in a supportive environment receiving random, periodic, positive comments from colleagues, a positive feedback loop is created. I feel happy and fulfilled that I have done a good job, it helps silence my noisy inner critic and, in turn, I feel more motivated to work hard. To feel recognised for having performed well is a very powerful incentive for continuing to put in effort.

Conversely, when good work goes unnoticed, or worse, unfairly criticised, people quickly lose motivation and start putting in less and less effort. Receiving (constructive) negative feedback is also much easier to bear when you have recently heard positive comments as it can be put in perspective. If you only ever hear criticism, you have nothing to balance it with and your interpretation can easily become that you are not performing adequately.

So, I invite you to recognise the power of words and to reward those around you making your day better; the receptionist fielding calls for you, the nurse who expertly restrains a feisty cat, or your colleague when they take the time out to show you a new technique.


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