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The Need for Recognition


Explanations > Needs > The Need for Recognition

Need | Example | Related to | Discussion |  So what?




When interacting and working with others we seek to be recognized.

The first recognition is acknowledgement of our existence, which we get when people talk with us, listening to us and taking an interest in our thoughts, actions and well-being. Without this, we feel alone and our sense of identity shrinks.

The next recognition is praise and reward, acknowledging our achievements and so encouraging continued effort. Without this we easily become demotivated and unsure of the real value of our work.


A person in a company works hard and ensures others knows how well they have done. When they get praised at a meeting they positively glow with pleasure.

A child is being ignored by their parents. They become deliberately irritating just to get attention and recognition of their existence. 

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In this densely populated and highly interconnected world, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Teachers instruct hundreds of children each year. Managers in company may interact with thousands. And we see endless people in the streets, in cars and all around us.

The worst thing for many of us when interacting with others is to be ignored. When we are ignored, it is as if our existence is being denied, that our identity is somehow being destroyed. In the reverse of this, when we are recognized, we feel that we exist and have some importance.

People do all kinds of things to gain recognition, particularly working hard in aiming to please. If this seems too difficult, then they may attract attention by other means, possibly even with undesirable means such as under-performing or displays of aggression or foolishness.

So what?

When you meet people, try hard to remember their names, then use them again when you speak in future. When people act, make verbal note of what they are doing. When they do well, notice this too and show your pleasure. Even when they do badly, saying something may well e better than saying nothing.

See also

Conversation techniques

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