10 inventions/discoveries by women that were credited to men:

  1. Cure for leprosy (Alice Ball)
  2. Disposable diapers (Marion Donovan)
  3. Monopoly (Elizabeth Maggie Phillips)
  4. Square-bottomed paper bag (Margaret Knight)
  5. Computer programming language (Dr. Grace Murray Hopper)
  6. The modern bra (Caresse Crosby)
  7. Hair straightener (Ada Harris)
  8. Nuclear physics (Chien-Shiung Wu)
  9. DNA double helix (Rosalind Franklin)
  10. Windshield wipers (Mary Anderson)

What happened? Advisors, lab partners, colleagues (and even a few husbands!) claimed credit. It could be a reflection of that time; it could be a reflection of their integrity. Ultimately it’s a failure of appreciation.

Appreciation of Work Done
In four motivation studies conducted between 1946 and 1992, employees ranked “full appreciation of work done” as their #1 or #2 motivating factors.

But “appreciation of work done” is more than just giving credit. It’s defined as acknowledging, respecting, and valuing someone’s contributions. It’s recognition with gratitude.

Recently I asked Rebecca on our team to simply send instructions to a client. But she took initiative – she ensured our client had access to our platform to use those instructions.

So I emailed Rebecca: “Thank you for truly helping the client – I didn’t even think about checking her access!”
Rebecca replied, “Thank you!” Rebecca meant, “Thank you for noticing.”

Ideas to intentionally recognize with gratitude:

  • Send handwritten thank-you notes (be specific: “Thank you for…”)
  • Email your boss to praise an employee and cc: that employee
  • Pay small compliments in front of others – this increases the likelihood of chime-in
  • Train Mentors to recognize effort – they often see what we don’t
  • Ask about and showcase all contributors on a project
  • Offer opportunities for assignments, exposure, and development (ex: nomination to a mentoring program)
  • Leverage recognition programs to encourage peer-to-peer appreciation
  • Acknowledge someone’s absence – let them know they were missed because they are valued!

People just want to know their work matters. So our job is to notice and appreciate their contributions.

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