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Stephen Mayo | Acknowledgement


Feb. 7, 2021

Acknowledge  [verb]

      1. to admit to be real or true;

      2. to recognize the existence, truth, or fact of;

      3. to take notice of

Among the training I received as a coach is a practice called Acknowledgment.  It's administered from one person to another with the following words:  "You are ___[adjective]___"


For example:

This is not a compliment. The intent is not to make another person feel good, although this often happens.  Rather, it is a verbal recognition of something true, that one person sees in another.  The intent is to communicate: I see you.

This experience, of being seen, is often a vulnerable one, both for the person giving and receiving the message. 

It's common for the receiver to squirm uncomfortably and say "aw shucks, you're too nice, c'mon, give me a break"...instead of letting it sink in and replying "gosh, thank you". 

For the person delivering the message, it's easy to wonder what if they think I'm some weird squishy person, talking about feelings and courage and crap?  I'd better stick to something safer...I'll just say "good job" or "you did a brave thing".

There's a difference between "you did a creative thing" and "you are creative".  The first phrase might make someone's day.  The second phrase might make someone's life.


Try it.  The next time you witness someone exhibiting a trait you appreciate, instead of praising the action, find the courage to acknowledge the person:

"You are generous"



For more information about how organizations like Workability and CTI are helping individuals and teams to be more effective as executives, managers, coworkers, friends, parents and humans, see their websites and ask me about my experience with them.

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