When Does A Person Deserve To Be Recognized?

Fotolia File: #87099239 | Author: Yury Zap

People ask this question of me in a variety of ways.

But the bottom line is, managers, want to know when they should recognize a person or not.

They’re looking for a magic formula that will make their job easier. They want me to provide them with some kind of tool or process to know how to judge whether an action or behavior performed by an employee merits being recognized or not.

The big flag in the title question is the word “deserve”.

How can you deal with this question?

Understanding Deserved Recognition

First, look at the ideal perspective with answering the question “when does a person deserve to be recognized?”

To deserve being recognized means the individual merits, or is qualified for, or has a right to claim being recognized, because of the occurrence of positive actions, efforts or contributions they’ve made.

True, you don’t just recognize people casually, aimlessly or with no purpose.

Recognition is never given willy-nilly.

Something has to occur first that is good and positive in nature.

  • A positive action
  • Genuine effort
  • Meaningful contribution

Every time you see something good happen, you should automatically commend, acknowledge, praise or recognize the individual or team members who did it.

You only have to ask yourself these two questions to know if the person deserves to be recognized or not:

  • Was this something good done at work?
  • Was this action a positive experience?

Those are the two simple criteria – good or positive – to consider around deserved recognition.

To recognize the good things going on is not only your duty, but it should be considered a sincere privilege to carry out.

I love Harvard Business School professor, Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s classic statement when she said, “Compensation is a right. Recognition is a gift.”

Remember, we are not dealing with compensation and benefits here. We are talking about recognition. This is all about valuing a person and the contributions they make.

Perhaps we need to stop questioning recognition in this way. Stop asking people if recognizing someone is deserved or not.

Maybe the tables need to be turned. After all, each of us is literally the source of all recognition received for everyone we work and live with.

Replace asking whether a person deserves to be recognized with asking ourselves, “Am I ready to recognize someone?”

Question: Where do you most get stuck with determining what merits being recognized or not?

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