Over the past 20+ years I have facilitated hundreds of leadership workshops on dozens of topics - change, coaching, delegation, resilience - the list is long. But one topic has always stood out
Recognition often acts as a signpost to the whole team about what good looks like; it encourages the right behaviours and; can motivate future performance. And in all the workshops I have run, when I ask the question "who gets too much recognition?" no one has ever raised their hand, so what gets in the way of giving recognition?
Maybe leaders don't know how to give recognition. Here is a quick "how to"...
Describe the behaviour or outcome to the colleague / employee. Be specific, make it concise and do it as close to the event as possible.
Say thank you or express your gratitude for the outcome
Remember to link the result to the positive outcome to the rest of the team, company & customers. Again be specific on what the benefits were for other people.
Show your curiosity and ask about how the employee came up wit the plan or idea (maybe they can teach you something that you can share with others). Treat #4 as a conversation for you to get insight into the process
More concerning is Leaders don't want to do it... they are recognition misers - they say things like, " I don't want my team to become complacent by thinking they're so good" or, " that's their job, no need to recognize" or, " there are too many things they are not doing well - how can I praise the few things they are?".
Pause and think of a time you got recognized for a positive contribution or effort - maybe at work, school or elsewhere. How did it make you feel?
Now I'm not talking about you obviously, it's all those other leaders right...? So when was the last time YOU recognized contribution or effort of those around you?