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This guest post is courtesy of the multi-talented- and-faceted Shauna Heathman. Shauna wears lots of hats:  ‎Entrepreneur, Content Marketer, and Communication Specialist.


leaders and recognitionThe impression you make on others plays a significant role in having influence over those you lead. Making a positive impression often requires the simplest of actions; most requiring very little effort.

Unfortunately, it’s these actions that often get overlooked and carry the heaviest impact. One of these simple concepts, yet the hardest to implement, is acknowledgment.

Power in recognition

Simple acknowledgment can go a long way among colleagues, employees and your peers. Reflecting back over the most influential leaders in your life will prove that most, if not all, of these individuals excelled in this arena.

For example, the effortless act of saying good morning to your coworkers is more than just an expression and often taken for granted. This small and almost automatic ritual of greeting your peers consistently shows that you acknowledge their existence and that this matters to you.

Acknowledgement such as this also performs a crucial job.

It establishes respect and serves as an intrinsic monitor for the good standing of a relationship. One would worry should you walk in one morning and not say hello.

A forgotten or purposely avoided greeting can cause others to be uneasy and question their good standing. Have you put thought into how one failed acknowledgment can affect the people around you? A negative mood or a bad day often causes us to turn inward. But just because we’re temporarily unavailable to others doesn’t mean we should treat them as invisible.

Powerful greeting trinity

Another form of acknowledgment we tend to overlook is the powerful greeting trinity:

  • A firm handshake
  • Steady eye-contact
  • Recognition of one’s name

How many times do you forget someone’s name you just met after shaking their hand? This happens when we forget to fully acknowledge that person.

When you shake their hand and take the extra second to process their name, you’re not just merely adhering to etiquette. You’re proving your ability to honor their existence. You’re covertly saying to them, you are important and deserve recognition. Taking the time to remember a name is the ultimate form of validation and respect.

Acknowledgement can also come in other forms: holding the door open, smiling or nodding your head as you pass someone on the street, introducing a newcomer to a group conversation, remembering to congratulate a peer on a recent accomplishment, smiling and saying hello to the woman at the check-out counter … the list goes on.

You have endless opportunities to honor the people around you through acknowledgment.

Social intelligence

A successful leader understands the concept of social intelligence and is able to make others feel good in their presence by doing so. Those who go on with their lives, proceeding through daily routines as if the people around them are invisible may only achieve a temporary and hollow influence.

What is so burdensome in life that we can’t take an extra second for acknowledgment?

Without acknowledgment of the people around us, relationships don’t exist. And without relationships, there’s no leadership.

A leader, after all, is a person followed by others.

And sometimes, all it takes to gain a following is simple, yet sincere acknowledgement of a person’s existence.

“A greeting is a minimal yet meaningful conferral of honor on a person for just being a person.”  ~P.M. Forni