As part of an interconnected network, all members of an organization have roles to play. We know what we’re supposed to do. We know who manages us and we work towards a common goal. Every member is special. And when one feels lost, unmotivated, or disconnected, it affects the rest of the organization.
The sum is always greater than its parts. However, when one unit does not have their mojo working, it creates a ripple effect. This may not be felt immediately but later, it can forge a gap that may mean the difference between success and defeat.
People management experts have always been advocating for employee morale and engagement to be uplifted. Empirical studies have correlated happy employees with organizational success. Because of this, managers, regardless of their level in the corporate hierarchy, are expected to do whatever is necessary to keep each member engaged, connected, and driven.
Theoretically, it sounds so straightforward. However, the real scenario in the workplace is not as linear — happy employees don’t always mean goals are met.
Employee engagement is a difficult task for any manager. In fact, it is quite rare for me to hear a friend gush about how open, approachable, and collaborative their manager is. Most of us at some point encounter managers that don’t jive well with our personalities and work styles. Despite all this, as humans we eventually adapt. We thrive and carry on. We think of ways to motivate ourselves, so we stay engaged.
Humans are adaptable and flexible to their environment. In our careers, we hustle and stay focused because of financial reasons, professional goals, and passion. But despite the intrinsic nature of humans to carry on and stay strong, there is one thing that most people consider a dealbreaker.
There is one common factor that makes us reevaluate our situation – validation.
At the end of the day, validation along with a feeling of belongingness is a human need. When it’s not given, it can cause you to wilt away into boredom eventually causing you to leave your job. So how can you make sure you’re validated at work?
Validation can come in many forms. It can be a little chat message, asking you how things are going in your project and what support you need. It can be a quick thank you for all the work you have put in so far. It may come in the form of acknowledgment of the fact that while the task is not completed yet, you have already made progress. Validation can be tbe little things that your manager does every day which remind you of your role, your progress and where you are headed. This validation can go a long way in keeping you engaged.
Validation can also be constructive criticism. That way, you know what should be improved or changed. It need not be praise or a reward but it’s an assurance that day in and day out of the work grind, you’re being seen as part of a team. You’re validated as a unique thread that is vital to the development of the tapestry’s design.
If you need more validation at work, start by asking for regular feedback from your manager. This doesn’t need to be a performance review — it can be a quick check-in where you get some of their thoughts. Make sure to prove you’ve adjusted your work based on any constructive feedback you receive.
Next, make your accomplishments heard. Overcommunicate your progress and achievements to your manager. They may be missing or overlooking what you’re doing. Give them a chance to comment on and praise you on a job well done.
I recall working for a company that has great work culture, and the compensation was better than the market rate, but I ended up leaving it because I didn’t feel a sense of belongingness to the team. I didn’t feel validated. I felt that there was a disconnect since my manager didn’t take the time to validate my contributions. It was always “do this” and “do that,” with no acknowledgment of my progress, no checkpoints for how I could grow in the organization moving forward. Long story short, the disconnect caused me to explore other opportunities.
It is a human need to feel accepted – a validation that we are a part of a whole. If your manager doesn’t strive to make you feel validated every day, it can lead to bigger issues moving forward.
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
Claire is an analytics consultant with diverse industry experience. As a millennial in the workplace, she is an advocate of women’s empowerment and knowledge sharing. In her spare time, she loves to write, paint, sing, and express her creativity as a way to relieve the stress from the daily grind of the corporate jungle.