Do you feel underappreciated at work? Show gratitude
Feeling underappreciated at work can leave you feeling frustrated and demotivated. When you’re putting in a lot of effort, and you think it’s going unnoticed, you might start to wonder what the point is.
We all want to feel appreciated for what we do, and in fact, praise and recognition is often a greater motivator than money. So if you feel like your hard work isn’t being recognised it can prevent you from giving your all.
Sometimes the advice we get when we confide in friends that we feel underappreciated is to leave. But there’s something a lot less drastic that you can do: show gratitude.
It starts with you
Hearing from others how they appreciate us can be a wonderful boost, but your primary source of validation should be you.
Start with appreciating yourself. Make time to reflect on what you’ve done well each day or each week. Identify and appreciate your skills, your strengths, and your achievements. Don’t discount the small victories and look for the positives each day.
When you do this, you are training yourself to look for positives, and this will naturally boost your motivation and your mental well-being.
Time for you to practice gratitude
Write down three things you’re grateful for right now. They can be anything. The cup of tea you’re finally getting to drink while it’s hot, the lack of traffic on the road this morning, the great results your department achieved last week.
It doesn’t matter how big or small they are, just focus on three good things that you’re grateful for right now in the moment.
If you’re not used to it this can feel difficult or silly at first, but make it a daily habit and it’s incredible how your mindset can shift.
Do more of what makes you happy
When you’re taking this time to self-reflect, consider how the tasks you’re working on are making you feel. To quote Marie Kondo, which tasks ‘spark joy’ and which tasks spark nothing? Or even worse, spark dread?
Focus your time and energy on the tasks that make you happy. Do what you can to get involved in projects that spark happiness in you and step back where possible from the ones that don’t.
You won’t do a great job if you’re not doing what you believe in. Bringing your best self to work involves focusing on the tasks that align with your strengths and values. When you do that, great results and a little more appreciation will usually follow.
Show gratitude to others
If you’re feeling underappreciated, there are probably other people in your organisation feeling the exact same way. Make an effort to give a sincere thank you when people do a good job. All too often, we notice the brilliant things others do but don’t make time to tell them.
The best kind of gratitude is genuine, specific and timely. If one of your team makes a great point in a meeting, tell them straight away after the meeting (or in the meeting if it’s appropriate). Make it sincere, and preferably face-to-face. Tell them exactly what they did that makes you grateful. Making it about a specific action shows that it’s thoughtful and sincere.
Ask for feedback
Just as you might not have been prioritising telling people when you’re grateful for what they do, your colleagues may be doing the same with you. Why not ask directly for some feedback? You might be surprised at how valued you are.
If you’re worried the feedback won’t be 100% positive, try looking at it a different way. They’re giving you some insight into how you can do a better job, which will lead to you being appreciated much more.
Chances are, there will be plenty of positive in the feedback you get. Sometimes we don’t know just how much we appreciate others until we’re forced to slow down and think about it.
Gratitude might not be the first thing you think of when you’re feeling underappreciated. But following the tips in this post can make a real difference to how you feel, and how others perceive you. Make a point of practising gratitude every day and watch how your approach to work changes.
Andrea helps you focus on leading yourself first, so you can be a great leader. Start getting your regular dose of leadership tips and inspiration with the ‘Leadership Breather’ – encouraging you to give yourself a breather and take 5 minutes for you.