People Want to Be Valued, But in Their Specific Way — Not in a Way You Decide

Ted Bauer
Ted Bauer
Feb 26 · 3 min read

If you are in a relationship with someone, you need to convey value and love to them in the way they appreciate, not the way you are comfortable. This is probably the single-hardest thing about being in a relationship, and no one seems to discuss it openly. Tough.

If I need a specific thing of value from a partner, be that wording or something physical or whatever, that right there is what I need. When there’s a gap between that and what’s actually being delivered, something of less quality is going to result. You either fight through that, shift your perception (and avoid resentment in the process), or give up. Those are basically your three options.

This is relationships in a nutshell. We gussy it up in lots of other shit, but in reality the equation is this:

Is there value being conveyed in a way that I understand, appreciate, and can grow with and from?

The work side

We’ve got this myth that we should never equate work and personal. I kind of get it, but the reason relationships end and the reason jobs end (quitting) have 92% in common. So maybe we should discuss them in concert more. Just a thought.

Look at the italics above. I’ll re-paste it for you:

Is there value being conveyed in a way that I understand, appreciate, and can grow with and from?

Uh, that’s work too.

People want value. They want to be valued.

And it takes different forms.

There are a lot of guys out there who want a bigger salary, sure. Extrinsic, target-driven rewards and value. Got it.

But some people want flexibility. Maybe their daughter is sick, or on the spectrum, or whatever.

Some people want autonomy at work — “please no micromanaging.”

Others want skill development.

Some people just want a paycheck.

A few, somewhere, want that Air Hockey table.

But the value isn’t about what the company thinks or wants — it’s actually about what the talent wants and sees value in.

But how do you scale that?

We just came to the central reason HR is viewed as an also-ran at most companies.

They supposedly have all this data and insight on the staff, but really what they have is macro-level, potentially-anonymized, 1-to-5 type scores on generic questions.

That’s really not information of value. Not in terms of designing more valuable experiences at the employee level.

You can only take “value/love back to employees” to scale via a 1–2 step:

  • Someone needs to care

That’s it.

If you have those two elements in a company, you can get it.

If not, you have no chance.

Back to the personal for a second

I went on my first “Social Road Trip” last January in Austin — probably around January 6th or so. My wife and I got separated around March 4th. March and April were kind of a train wreck. Then I started to kind of rebuild my stuff.

I am absolutely not an expert. I have a ton of flaws. Maybe the biggest difference between me and anyone else is that I am openly and completely willing to discuss them. Transparency is a thing for me.

So in November, I go to a ranch in east Texas with some of my friends for a guys weekend. My friend’s cousins show up. One of them is asking me about relationships. I’m also drunk at this moment.

No expert + drinking, and here’s what I can come up with:

“Relationships are about each person putting the bar up for the other in a way that matters and they can understand.”

Kind of the same point as this post, which apparently took me 3–4 months to then actually write.

My friend’s cousin thought I was smart. (I am but only periodically.)

But this is where work and personal ARE similar: convey value in a way that matters. Show love and appreciation on the terms of the receiver. Good things then happen.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Join The Startup’s +787K followers.

Sign up for Top 10 Stories

By The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Subscribe to receive The Startup's top 10 most read stories — delivered straight into your inbox, once a week. Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Ted Bauer

Written by

Ted Bauer

Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/work-with-me/

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +787K followers.

Ted Bauer

Written by

Ted Bauer

Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/work-with-me/

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +787K followers.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store