Human beings have an innate need to be seen, acknowledged, and valued by others. From childhood to adulthood, the desire for attention, recognition, and validation persists. This can manifest in various ways, including seeking approval from others, striving for achievements, or craving recognition for one’s accomplishments. This need for attention and validation is not limited to childhood games but continues into adulthood, where individuals often silently seek acknowledgment from others. This aspect of human nature is closely linked to leadership, as effective leaders recognize the importance of seeing the best in people and helping them see it too. I noticed that my nieces and nephews are constantly saying to me “Watch this, no watch this, no watch this” just wanting to be seen. As adults, we don’t grow out of this need to be seen,
Little kids love playing the game watch this, no watch this, no watch this captures the attention-seeking behavior often exhibited by children. It reflects their need for validation and acknowledgment from others, as they seek to be noticed and appreciated for their actions. However, as adults, although the overt expressions of attention-seeking behavior may change, the underlying need for recognition and validation remains. Adults may not explicitly say “Watch me, see me, notice me,” but the desire for attention and acknowledgment is still present, albeit in more subtle ways. This desire for recognition is an essential aspect of human nature, and it impacts how individuals perceive themselves and others, as well as their interactions with others, including their roles as leaders.
Leadership, at its core, is about influencing and inspiring others to achieve common goals. Effective leaders understand the importance of seeing the best in people and helping them see it too. They recognize that individuals have unique strengths, talents, and potential, and they strive to identify and amplify these qualities in their team members. This approach is not just about providing recognition and validation, but also about fostering growth and development, unleashing the full potential of individuals, and creating a positive and empowering work environment. In this thesis, we will explore how leadership involves recognizing and valuing the best in people, the impact of this approach on individuals and teams, and how leaders can cultivate this mindset in their leadership practices.
The Psychological Need for Recognition and Validation:
The human need for recognition and validation is deeply rooted in our psychological makeup. It is tied to our sense of self-worth and identity, and it impacts how we perceive ourselves and others. Psychologically, recognition and validation are associated with feelings of acceptance, belonging, and significance, which are fundamental human needs. When we receive recognition and validation from others, it boosts our self-esteem, enhances our self-confidence, and reinforces our sense of worthiness. On the other hand, the lack of recognition or validation can lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and diminished motivation.
This need for recognition and validation starts early in life and continues throughout our lifespan. In childhood, we seek approval and attention from parents, teachers, and peers. We strive to be acknowledged for our achievements, skills, and talents. As we grow older, this need for recognition may extend to our work environment, where we seek validation from supervisors, colleagues, and subordinates. We may look for acknowledgment in our personal relationships, social circles, and even in the virtual world through social media and online platforms.
As adults, we may become more subtle in our expressions of this need for recognition, but it remains a powerful motivator in our behaviors and interactions. We may seek external validation through accomplishments, awards, promotions, or accolades. In addition, we may crave acknowledgment through positive feedback, praise, or recognition from others. We may compare ourselves to others and seek to outperform them to gain recognition. This underlying need for validation and acknowledgment influences how we perceive ourselves, how we interact with others, and how we approach leadership.
Leadership and Seeing the Best in People:
Effective leadership goes beyond just managing tasks and directing people. It involves understanding and tapping into the potential of individuals, recognizing their strengths, talents, and unique qualities, and helping them reach their fullest potential. A key aspect of leadership is seeing the best in people, which means looking beyond their flaws or limitations and recognizing their strengths and abilities. When leaders adopt this mindset, they create an environment that nurtures and empowers individuals and fosters their growth and development.
Seeing the best in people involves recognizing and valuing their strengths, talents, and potential. It means acknowledging their achievements, skills, and contributions. As well as providing opportunities for individuals to showcase their abilities and encouraging them to take on challenges that align with their strengths. It means listening to their ideas and opinions and involving them in decision-making processes. Additionally, it means providing constructive feedback that highlights their strengths and areas for improvement and guiding them toward continuous learning and development. It also means celebrating their successes and giving credit where it is due.
When leaders see the best in people, it not only boosts the morale and motivation of individuals but also enhances their self-esteem and self-confidence. When individuals feel valued and acknowledged, they are more likely to be engaged, committed, and proactive in their roles. They are more willing to take risks, share ideas, and contribute to the overall success of the team and the organization. They feel a sense of belonging and ownership and are motivated to excel in their areas of strength. This creates a positive work environment where individuals are empowered to perform at their best, and it fosters a culture of continuous growth and improvement.