The Validation Exchange Theory

A Tool for Effective Communication and Employee Engagement

Validation Exchange Theory is a leadership practice of organizational currency. It involves checking the validity and accuracy of something in exchange for recognition and affirmation of the worker, their efforts, feelings, and opinions. This practice can significantly improve organizational communication, goal traction, engagement, performance management, quality control, and relationship/team building.

The Process of Validation Exchange

An example of Validation Exchange in action might be when a leader requests a worker to create a report on specific topics and sets a deadline for completion. Once the worker provides the report, the leader reviews it with the worker in a one-on-one setting, if possible. This review process ensures that the report meets the requirements and provides opportunities for feedback, critique, and clarifying questions. The leader then validates the worker’s efforts and provides a form of recognition, such as “job well done” or another type of praise. If time permits, the review session can also open up a dialogue between the leader and the worker.

The Importance of Validation Exchange

The human experience is centered around the desire for approval and validation. Leaders play a crucial role in recognizing workers’ efforts and fostering engagement. Unfortunately, less than one-third of Americans are engaged in their jobs, which is why Validation Exchange is important. It increases actual and perceptual approachability, engagement, and appreciation, ultimately fostering mutual respect and loyalty.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs highlights the importance of feeling a sense of belonging and acceptance among social groups, including co-workers and professional organizations. A worker who is unhappy at work is likely to carry that feeling into their personal and social life, leading to poor performance and eventual removal from the job or company, which is costly for both the worker and the organization.

Validation Exchange addresses these issues by fulfilling the needs of the worker, leader, and organization in a meaningful way. It allows workers to feel accomplished, valued, and engaged. It provides leaders with quality control and the opportunity to spend time with their workers, leading to better overall organizational performance and a better work experience for everyone involved.

Considerations for Validation Exchange

Validation Exchange should be viewed as “organizational currency,” with each transaction requiring a product or service and a form of “payment” in the form of recognition and validation. In other words, when a worker presents a product or service for delivery, the leader “pays” for it through Validation Exchange.

It is essential to note that Validation Exchange should be genuine and tangible. Inauthentic validation may have the opposite effect and reduce its impact. Leaders must also be careful not to overuse Validation Exchange, as it may lead to worker burnout and decreased effectiveness over time.

Validation Exchange should also be culturally sensitive and consider the specific needs and communication styles of individual workers. For example, some workers just want to be seen, while others prefer feedback. The best way to find out which is preferred is to ask. The key is understanding the worker’s preferences and tailoring the Validation Exchange accordingly.

Other Benefits of Validation Exchange

Validation Exchange can bring numerous benefits to organizations, including increased employee engagement and motivation, improved communication, better goal traction, and enhanced quality control. It can also lead to improved performance and job satisfaction, resulting in reduced turnover and absenteeism. In addition, Validation Exchange can foster a positive work culture, promote trust and support, and build strong relationships and teams. This, in turn, can lead to better collaboration, innovation, and overall organizational success.

Validation Exchange can also promote a positive work-life balance. When employees feel valued and appreciated for their work, they are less likely to experience stress and burnout, which can have a spillover effect into their personal lives. By ensuring that workers feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment in their jobs, Validation Exchange can help create a healthier work-life balance for employees, improving their mental and physical well-being.

Validation Exchange is also a powerful tool for employee retention. When workers feel valued, they are more likely to stay with the organization and less likely to seek employment elsewhere. Additionally, Validation Exchange can help to foster a sense of loyalty and commitment to the organization, which can lead to improved employee retention rates.

Validation Exchange can improve the overall organizational culture. A culture that values and appreciates employees are more likely to be a positive and productive work environment. When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to work together effectively and be more productive. This can also lead to a reduction in workplace conflict and an increase in teamwork and collaboration.

Validation Exchange is a simple but powerful tool that leaders can use to improve communication, engagement, performance management, and organizational culture. By providing workers with meaningful recognition and affirmation, Validation Exchange can help to build a more positive, productive, and engaged workforce. With the right approach and implementation, Validation Exchange can help organizations achieve better results and create a workplace that benefits everyone.

Validation Exchange Theory: Dr. David M Robertson, MSL. All Rights Reserved – 2019.