3 Leadership Characteristics That Make For Great Recognizers

How do your leaders stack up on required leadership characteristics for being great recognizers of people?

Paul Laudicina, the former chairman and CEO of A.T. Kearney, once stated, “Real leadership involves inspiring people at all levels to serve something much bigger than themselves.”

For recognition to inspire employees your leaders must demonstrate that leadership is not just a hierarchical status but a quality that should exist everywhere within the organization.

What can you do to develop leadership characteristics that are essential for giving meaningful, memorable, and motivational recognition to employees?

Check out these three leadership characteristics that influence excellence in recognition giving.

1. One leadership characteristic of great recognizers is they are courageously authentic.

Authentic leaders are down to earth, caring people, and they put their employees first in order to serve their customers best.

I think we have seen this quality with Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks with the recent racial incident that occurred at a Starbucks café in Philadelphia. He saw no need to fire the manager. That individual has subsequently left the company on their own accord due to the backfire from the event.

Justin Bariso wrote on Forbes how he admired Johnson for taking personal responsibility for the problem and for finding a solution to prevent any reoccurrences. Bariso said, “Because that’s what true leadership is all about–taking ownership, in both good times and bad times.”

Great leaders take responsibility for appreciating people and valuing their contributions every day.

2. Another leadership characteristic of a great recognizer is they’re constantly growing personally as a leader.

You may be appointed as a leader, rise to be a leader, or assume a leadership responsibility. However, leadership, like every other people skill characteristic or competency, is something that has to be learned and continually developed.

A religious leader, David O. McKay once said, “Character is the aim of true education; and science, history, and literature are but means used to accomplish the desired end. Character is not the result of chance work but of continuous right thinking and right acting.” 

Leaders have a tough task on their shoulders with having to always be thinking right and doing right things. Nevertheless, that is what it takes.

Become an avid reader of leadership books and attend conferences to learn more about leadership. Humility allows great leaders to learn characteristics they lack in their lives from the janitor or junior leader, just as much as they can from another senior leader they look up to.

Exceptional leaders find time even in their busy schedules to make personal calls to express care and concern for people. They plan in time to write personal notes of thanks, praise, and commendation for the difference their employees are making throughout the company.

3. Great leaders, who are great recognizers, work hard at creating and sharing a common and higher purpose worth recognizing.

It appears the leaders we admire most are ones who have a healthy balance between personal, results-focus, and relational power. They know their role gives them power but they acknowledge a moral responsibility to use it wisely.

Popular marketer and blogger, Seth Godin, states, “Every time we avoid the easy in favor of what’s right, we create ripples. Character begets more character, weaving together the fabric of our culture, the kind of world we’d rather live in.”

I love what Richard Branson, CEO, and founder of the Virgin Companies says, Many entrepreneurs struggle with the link between purpose, innovation and growth. But staying true to your purpose is actually good business. Entrepreneurs that embed purpose in their company DNA from the start enjoy a competitive advantage. Companies that want to do more than make money – to put their companies to the service of society and the environment – attract the best employees, have more loyal customers, and enjoy a better reputation.”

Great recognizing leaders always connect the dots for the people they praise and recognize so they know how they helped serve the bigger purpose of the company and made a difference.

Quick Action Steps

Here are some quick steps you can encourage leaders to be doing:

  • Hold people accountable for being authentic and transparent in their dealings with others.
  • Help current and aspiring leaders with developing needed leadership qualities on an ongoing basis.
  • Become more purpose-driven as a company and have leaders always consider how their actions are aligned with the corporate purpose.

Reflective Question: What leadership characteristics have you seen in common with leaders who are great recognizers of staff?

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