Recognition: Getting People To Give Their Very Best

Sections of this topic

    Giving One’s Best in Return for Recognition

    Recognition: For something so simple why is so hard to compliment people when they do something well or to encourage them as they work to improve their performance?

    I have heard a variety of reasons, in my training and coaching, why some managers let encouragement and recognition drift.

    • “I don’t need recognition. I am self-driven. My people should be the same.”
    • “If I recognize them, they will let up and performance will drop.”
    • “Recognizing individuals will only create more problems with those who don’t get it.”
    • “Why should I recognize people for doing their jobs.”

    The bottom line is this: If you want people to give their very best, you better be recognizing their efforts and contributions regularly – not just once a year!

    Here are three things to keep in mind about recognition.

    1. Recognition and reward are not the same thing, although many use them interchangeably. Rewards are best used when high achievement standards are met or exceeded. For many managers, monetary reward is the only recognition strategy they know. In those circumstances, recognition is very black and white – exceed your numbers and get recognized (usually with more money); come in at 99% and be labeled a marginal or poor performer.
    2. However, recognition serves many purposes. With simple words, short notes, public applause or even little trinkets, you can let people know when they are making progress, serving as role models for important values, or showing extra effort. It’s acknowledging and encouraging people for their time, effort, and commitment. Look for opportunities to help people soar and let them know when they do.
    3. You cannot delegate recognition and encouragement. You must get involved one on one whenever possible. Dropping a note of praise in an e-mail is one thing. Personally handing it to the other person, with a proud look in the eye, an affirming handshake or a genuine pat on the back is something entirely different.

    Management Success Tip

    Write down the names of at least two people whom you know deserve some praise, recognition, or encouragement from you for something they have recently done or are about to do. Now go out and recognize them. Let them know how important they are. Then find 2 more people. In other words, set daily or weekly goals for recognition. Get it in your planner like you do everything else that is important. Also see Employee Motivation: One Size Doesn’t Fit All and Enthusiastic Employees Do You Have Them?

    Do you want to develop your Management Smarts?