“There are two things people want more than sex and money; recognition and praise.” – Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay
Many of us sometimes feel that we are not recognized appropriately for what we do, whether it is in our personal relationships, our jobs, our professional teams or in our family. Consequently, it can affect us in how we think and behave.
Everyone likes to be recognized and appreciated.
It is one of the 5 love languages, and can be the most important one for some people.
So when I was growing up, I don’t ever recall my parents recognizing me (in a direct way), but I know they did, as I overheard them praising me with friends many times when I wasn’t in the room:)
When my kids were in their early years, I showered them with praise and recognition for all their great efforts, big or small. I truly believe they now share this recognition of others. Was this because my parent’s influence, in that indirect way?
So now let’s talk about the workplace and business world.
The greatest management principle in the world, is “you get what you reward.” Hence it follows, that by recognizing, appreciating and rewarding people enhances the performance and behaviour that you want to be repeated.
First of all, let’s understand the difference between recognition and reward. I think it is fair to say that recognition of someone, is a positive consequence or activity for a behaviour or result; while a reward is a tangible thing, experience or prize, usually with monetary value.
So in your business today, are you applying recognition in a positive way to enhance your team? Or are you applying it in a negative way? Are you motivating your team or demotivating them with recognition?
“You never know when a moment and few sincere words can have an impact on a life.” – Zig Ziglar, Speaker and Author
Lets understand some of the positive benefits of recognition.
1. It improves morale.
This is a no-brainer. I have not met anyone yet in my life that does not appreciate being recognized for what they do. Recognition makes a person feel special, appreciated, worthwhile, and happier. It usually results in them being more ‘engaged’ in what they are doing.
2. It enhances productivity.
If engagement is increased, then it follows that productivity increases. People want to do more when they have been recognized for their performance. They feel good about what they are doing, and consequently perform at a higher level. Being recognized makes them more confident in what they are doing.
3. It increases healthy competitiveness.
When people are recognized for good work, it creates healthy competition. I have seen this happen so many times. We all want to be recognized and therefore we want to do the things necessary to get that recognition, and be on stage with everyone else! We do not want to miss out!
4. It decreases absenteeism and turnover.
When people are recognized and appreciated, they want to come to work, they have better work relationships, and they have more motivation. Consequently, they show up and don’t leave!
5. It is easy to do.
Saying thank you, writing a card of appreciation, or sending an email are just some of the easy things one can do to foster recognition. It does not have to be a big thing at all, to get maximum benefit. After you have done it, you both feel good!
“When someone does something well, applaud! You will make two people happy.” – Samuel Goldwyn, Movie Producer
So are you a recognizer?
Is your recognition effective?
Is your recognition positive or negative?
I always remember the old adage of “praise in public, criticize/correct in private”.
I have seen many people criticize a person in public and the long-lasting negative impact it had on the individual as well as the lack of respect for the one that did the admonishing.
Never recognize poor performance in front of the team!
Are you consistent and fair in your recognition?
You cannot recognize one day and not recognize the next day, for the same behaviour. Be consistent. And make the amount/level of recognition consistent. Do not give more recognition for the same thing one day and not the next.
So how do you know that you are indeed an effective “recognizer”?
Here are some of things I think are important indicators:
1. You genuinely go out of your way to recognize the person.
2. You make it fun and simple.
3. You are fair and consistent in your application of recognition.
4. You make it a surprise to the person.
5. You make the entire group or team aware of the recognition.
“The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount.” – B.F. Skinner, Behavioural Psychologist
I urge you to take the time and effort to recognize family, friends, team members, colleagues and business associates for the good things you see that they do.
The benefits for you and for them are with out a doubt, so valuable and everlasting, that you will be forever glad you did!