The Attitude Lounge by Kodwo Brumpon: Give efforts recognition


“A snake is like a rope but it is not used for tying up firewood.” – Akan proverb

When we task our brains and talents, extracting our creativity and letting it dictate our pace of work and the flow of our relationships; more often than not, the greater reward we seek is recognition of our efforts.

The remunerations and the benefits that come along are brilliant. They spur us to give more of ourselves, but they can never compare to what happens when we are actually recognized for what we do. It entraps our hearts with serenity and cause a glow in our brains. It is a kind a glory that lights an individual up. It is like a song, specially sweetened and sang for an individual’s ears only. It fills our nostrils with fresh breathe and delights our attitudes.

Recognition might sound like one of those little things, but it is one of the little things that make the biggest difference. It is good to be recognised for our efforts. In actuality, it is so good we look forward to it. This is one of the objectives that inspires the surprising majority of us to give our best and more.

Yet for all our efforts spent in our little corners cranking upward and outward to prove our competencies, the expected recognition often goes missing out of subtle everyday negligence. On a few occasions, it comes at the right time; but more often than not it delays, sometimes for a whole life time; other times, it comes after we have transitioned into the next life.

What started as an oversight has become engrained in our attitudes. What makes it sadder is the fact that those of us who wait to be recognised, more often than not do not offer recognition to others. We know the inexplicable agony we cause others when we do not recognise their efforts.

We know this because at one time or another, we had experienced the difficult of waiting to be recognised; yet we are slow in offering ours to others. Such inabilities have paved the way for attitudes that pay homages to get recognition; instead of attitudes that give their best so that they can be recognized.

It is true that sometimes, we do not give the needed recognition because we want to be sure the individual or group is actually brilliant. Well, it does not always have to be so.

What is more important is that being a valuable part of society – serving with what you have – is not necessarily about how smart or talented you are, but about the willingness to contribute, no matter how little. We need to understand that to be recognized, is in part to be accepted and to be remembered.

And this inspires individuals to want to give what is in them. Moreover, to recognize individuals for their contributions is a wonderful way of saying; you want more of their efforts and uniqueness. It energies self-esteem, self-love and self-fulfilment and contributes to who we are truly and what makes us whole.

Unfortunately, our inability to give recognition when it is due has created a patronizing culture within ourselves. There are more and more individuals striving to patronise than people actually striving to be creative in the design of solutions. In an astute adaptation, they spread the wings of flattery, letting out words that paint favour for the individual wrapped in position.

They have become very creative at kowtowing and bowing to individuals in high places; as if their hands forged the essence of our existence. Sometimes, their acts actually call for admiration. Their tongues utter words, so sweet they can melt ice cubes in a freezer.

What puzzles the few who do not engage in patronising others is why the connotation of affluence should buy another man’s tongue to speak in falsehood whiles his soul writhes and withers in agony? And then, we wonder how the receivers of patronising words feel; ‘are they so small, that they thrive on the sweet words and mannered gestures of weak men?’ Unfortunately, people fall for patronising because they misinterpret it as recognition for their efforts. We should not forget they also need recognition to make them feel whole and worthy.

There are lots of good things we can say about giving recognition; and there are lots of good things we do not do about giving recognition. Like the adage, “it is easier said than done,” the greater numbers amongst us know what we must do.

By failing to recognise people for their efforts, we also fail to recognise that there are psychological implications. What do you think happens to an individual who pours out the most of him or herself and yet he or she is not given any recognition? They find other things to fill them up. They find ways of being ‘smart’ and then, they embark on paying false homage till they in turn become sycophants. Let us stop paying lip service to truth, beauty and goodness, and cultivate a positive that gives recognition when it is due.


Kodwo Brumpon is a partner at Brumpon & Kobla Ltd, a forward-thinking Pan African management consultancy and social impact firm driven by data analytics, with a focus on understanding the extraordinary potential and needs of organisations and businesses to help them cultivate synergies, that catapults into their strategic growth, and certifies their sustainability.

Comments, suggestions, and requests for talks and training should be sent to him at kodwo@brumponand

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