8 Ways to Stay Motivated When You Feel Underappreciated at Work.

Karen Dillon, author of the HBR Guide to Office Politics says we all have a human need to be appreciated for our efforts, and when our contributions are not noticed, it makes us feel as though we don’t belong.

Some people find it easy to push through their workdays with little or no appreciation/ recognition from their bosses, co-workers, or supervisors. On the other side, there are people who find it difficult when their work or efforts are not being recognized or appreciated enough.

A good number of people feel more motivated at their work when their work is being recognized by their seniors.

Not all bosses or supervisors will show appreciation for every work you do. Some just assume that the fact they are paying you at the end of the month, your work is to work and there is no need to be shown appreciation for doing what you are meant to do.

You are probably the type that regularly needs validation or encouragement to keep pushing forward. If that’s the case, you can find it difficult to stay motivated at work and be productive when you keep feeling underappreciated.

The feeling of being underappreciated can highly affect you at work. If you are not careful, you will constantly struggle to be productive, efficient, and experience negativity.

Annie McKee, the author of How to Be Happy at Work says, “There is nothing worse than feeling unseen and unheard in the workplace.”

But, don’t worry, you are not alone, and the following practical ways will help you keep pushing through and stay motivated.

1.Motivate yourself with your Goals

Don’t make it about other people, instead, make it about you and focus on your personal goals and career goals.

Make it your focus to get things done by putting in mind your goals and ambitions. With this, you don’t have to wait for anybody to validate you to keep pushing. Your goals will keep you pushing forward since you don’t want to let yourself down by not working towards your goal.

As long as you know you are putting in the work to accomplish your goals, no one needs to clap for you but yourself. The work you put towards achieving your goals is what will give you fulfillment and reason to keep pushing.

When you accomplish whatever goal, big or small, celebrate that accomplishment.  

2.Concentrate on your career development

When you are not appreciated or your work is not being recognized, maybe it’s because your skills are ‘flat’ and are affecting your productivity.

Maybe your skills are stagnant and you are not doing anything to take them to the next level.

Constantly look for ways to develop your skills in order to bring something extra to your work and go to the next level. Improving your career skills or developing more and new skills will reflect in your work and you won’t do things the same way all the time.

Work on the weaknesses that affect your productivity and advance your skills in order to bring a different taste to your work.

Advanced skills improve your performance and productivity at work.

You will even feel more confident in your work and won’t bother waiting for validation and recognition.  

3.Recognize the significance of your work

When most people are feeling underappreciated, they forget how and why their role is important.

The moment you feel underappreciated or unrecognized, remember how your role is benefiting the company you are working for.

You are in that company for a reason and there is work you are getting done that if you left, there would be a gap until a replacement is made.

Practice to see each task you undertake as important and avoid seeing some tasks as useless. Dig deep to how your role is beneficial and how customers, coworkers and even your boss are depending on you.

Think of the impact your task will have to the person on the receiving end and appreciate the value your work has.

4.Keep your confidence up

Keeping your confidence up will get you through any situation in life.

When you feel less appreciated or less validated, you might start questioning yourself. This is likely going to affect your confidence and self-esteem with time. And when you are not confident, it shows in your work, how you interact with your superiors, clients, and your coworkers.

Even when you are not getting the validation or appreciation you are craving for, learn to keep that confidence up. Don’t let it question what you are capable of doing and accomplishing.

5.Take the emotions somewhere else

For most people, when they feel their work underappreciated or unrecognized, their feelings and emotions go up.

When you allow your emotions to go high, you feel more irritable, more frustrated, exhausted, and unwanted. If you are not careful, the emotions take a toll on you, and stress, depression, and anxiety start kicking in.

If you are not in control of these emotions, this affects your work relationships with colleagues and your superiors. Colleagues start seeing you as rude, disrespectful, and one who can’t keep their cool.

When your emotions are up, take a pause, go out and give yourself 5-10 minutes to calm down.

6.Maybe it’s all in your head, speak up

If you are observant, you will notice sometimes it’s just all in your head and you are the only one who knows you feel underappreciated.

Your bosses might not even notice you are feeling underappreciated as they are so busy up and down attending to more serious matters that need their attention more.

Be more aware and cautious when you are feeling underappreciated and speak up.

Be confident and approach your boss or whoever superior it is and explain you are feeling underappreciated and affecting your motivation. At least when you speak up, your superior will be aware and probably work towards making necessary improvements.  

7.Appreciate yourself

This is the most important appreciation you need – from yourself. This does not come easily for some but with time and practice, you will learn.

Appreciating yourself is an internal source of motivation and one you are more in control over compared to external motivation.

So when you find yourself looking for external recognition or validation, turn the focus to yourself and appreciate yourself and your small victories.

8.Appreciate others

They say, do unto others what you want done to you.

Ironically, if you want people to notice your work, notice, and appreciate others.

Make it a habit of yours to notice and appreciate the work your colleagues are doing. Be the colleague who notices a job well done by a colleague. Be nice to your coworkers and give good compliments where due without being in competition. For sure someone will notice your work too.

With time, colleagues in your workplace will start appreciating each other more and this will penetrate to your superiors. This way, you will actually birth a culture of appreciation and optimism in your workplace.

Final thoughts

You will occasionally feel underappreciated in your work and one thing you should not allow is that feeling making your performance go downhill.

Find ways to stay motivated and push through to be productive and efficient in your work.