Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Recognition--the Force Multiplier

Leaders are responsible for ensuring the members of their teams feel as if the contributions they make are important. To do this leaders need to both acknowledge contributions and recognize the value of the contributions.

Not every contribution needs to be recognized, but it is too easy to fall into the trap of recognizing no contributions at all--or even worse--calling out only the not so good contributions. This is demoralizing. After a while the team begins to wonder if anyone cares about what they are doing.

It is easy to fall into the trap of forgetting that people appreciate knowing that what they are doing is moving the mission forward--in whatever endeavor is being attempted: work, sports, music--leaders have an obligation to encourage. One of the best ways to encourage and reinforce good behaviors is to recognize--when it happens, good stuff. Don't wait until weeks later. Do it on the spot if you can. Catch people in the act of doing good!

We all generally have a real good grasp on reality and know when bad stuff happens. What we don't really understand sometimes is what is the good stuff? What do we need to emulate? That's the job of the leader--to recognize the good stuff and let everyone else now what it looks like so they can recognize it too.

How to recognize? A public comment that that was good is a great way to start. It can be done on the spot and in front of peers. Certificates are good. Awards are nice--especially money or time off.

Develop a culture that recognizes and encourages. Amazing things will happen as people push themselves a little bit more--without even realizing it, because they know their efforts are appreciated. And then the team, work unit, or whatever will be capable of doing more than it believed it could.

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