Acknowledgement motivates. At its most simple, this means saying ‘thank you’ when a colleague has done something well or has risen to a personal challenge. If someone thanks you, are you more likely to do more for them again? Naturally you are! And nearly all other people are similarly motivated by acknowledgement. The most basic levels of acknowledgement are simple curtesies that are expected between two humans. At the next level, the acknowledgement (or feedback) is improved by specifics, “I was getting anxious about the deadline. When I read through the edited report you prepared last evening, I was relieved and happy, thank you for getting it to me in time and in perfect order“.
Expressions that include personal, emotive difference are more impactful to most people. The difference between ‘anxious’ above and ‘relieved and happy’, underlines the impact your colleague has had on you. They will want to perform for you again.
Expressions like this also offer permission; others around you may follow your lead and acknowledge more widely and expertly as well. Not everyone will follow immediately – it takes a movement in work-culture to achieve that, but your starting point with acknowledging can grow and blossom with positive results for your team – both in wellbeing and in performance.