Touchy-Feely Is Not My Style

Cindy Ventrice Posted by Cindy Ventrice.

Cindy Ventrice is a management consultant and workshop leader with over 20 years of experience. Through her company, Potential Unlimited, she helps organizations improve performance by improving work relationships.

Touchy-Feely Is Not My Style

When Alan sat down in his chair in my management training course on recognition, I knew he was going to be a tough man to convince of the value of acknowledging employee contributions. The arguments he would offer were already whispering in my ear. “Why should I recognize them? They get paid to do their job.” “I’ve been on the receiving end of recognition. I have plaques, certificates, t-shirts, and pins. They’re all meaningless.” “I have enough to do already. You can’t expect me to add something else to my list.”

But Alan was there for the day. He had to be. His company was requiring all of its managers to attend. That didn’t mean that he had to like it and it didn’t mean that he couldn’t try to sway everyone to his way of thinking. After all, some of his employees had been with him for over ten years. If they were that unhappy, they would have left by now. Alan told us, “This touchy-feely stuff might work for some managers, but it is just not my style.”

By the end of the day Alan wasn’t arguing any longer, but did that mean that he agreed or did he just get tired? He didn’t complete an evaluation. I figured I would never know for sure if the workshop or the testimonials of his fellow managers had any impact on him. I hoped that he would do things just a little differently from then on.

Fast-forward one month. I am having a conversation with a friend and the subject turns to recognition. “Oh, I have a story for you!” she says. It has come through the grapevine. One friend told another, my friend has heard it, and now she is telling me.

It seems that this woman, a secretary for a medium-sized company (one I am quite familiar with) was ecstatic about the recognition she had recently received. She had worked for the same guy for ten years. He was tough to work for, but the job was a good one. That is not what she was excited about, however. It was that after ten years, for the first time ever, her boss Alan had thanked her for the job she did. He told her that she made the department run smoothly. That without her, his job would be ten times harder.

Alan had taken a risk. He did something he had never done before. The result was that his secretary wasn’t just pleased to be acknowledged, she was bubbling over with her own gratitude. Do you think he has any idea what a difference he made?


  • Make a list of the people who assist you on a regular basis.
  • Find a way to let each person know how grateful you are.
  • Make gratitude a habit. For more ideas on how to do this go to

Cindy Ventrice is the author of Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works (Berrett-Koehler, 2003). A speaker, trainer, and consultant with over twenty years’ experience, Cindy works with organizations to solve employee morale issues. You can learn more at: