Mindfulness is the psychological process of focusing your attention to both internal and external experiences occurring at the same time. There is a lot going on when you recognize a person so being aware of everything surrounding such a moment can help maximize the recognition experience.
Mindful preparation for giving recognition requires asking good questions of yourself and maybe of others too.
Here are some quick ways for you to be more mindful about the recognition you give your employees.
Consider the following thoughts:
- Why are you honoring this employee? Think about why their actions stand out. How will celebrating their deeds influence others?
- What is the purpose behind the recognition you’re giving? It is important to consider what you want to achieve by the steps you take. Is it to inspire them? Perhaps you want to highlight their performance to motivate similar innovative work.
- How do you want them to feel after receiving the token of appreciation you’re giving to them? Recognition is a felt phenomenon. What will you do to ensure your good intentions are received well?
Why not start your preparations by listing positive attributes of the individual you intend to recognize? Ask around and learn more about the positive qualities of this person who is being recognized. You are like an investigative journalist finding out more information to add to the storytelling of this individual.
Carefully find out if these positive comments should be shared publicly when you present the tangible form of recognition or present their award. It is important in your one-on-one meetings with employees to have already gleaned their personal preferences. Recognition is, by nature, a surprise and hopefully you can maintain that while respecting their wishes.
Think about using a few of the characteristics you have found out in your expressions of recognition, whether verbal or written, like: “considerate, kind, or hard-working”. Or you might hear the person is “organized, diligent, or innovative.”
Mindfulness with communicating recognition is much harder than being aware of your own breathing. So reflect on the following three points of mindfulness applied towards recognition giving.
1. Become aware of the little and big things people do.
Learn what is most meaningful to the employee in their work and honor them for it.
When another employee faithfully does their job in a reliable and consistent manner day in and day out, without any opportunity for above and beyond performance, thank them for their reliability and consistency.
2. Be mindful of the words you will use to recognize people.
Prior to meeting with your employees, or seeing them at the celebration event, write out your talking points to help guide you. This will ease any nervousness or concern you might have of forgetting anything and give you the confidence your words will hit the mark.
Recognition is an act of storytelling. The more specific you can be with sharing the details or account of their exceptional performance the better. Being specific when giving recognition is extremely important.
Here’s a quick test for you. Think back to a time you recently gave someone some form of recognition. What did that individual specifically do that got your attention and merited being recognized? List out their behaviors. Determine your own feelings that were triggered by what they did.
Your job is to help describe and visualize their actions for others to see in their mind’s eye.
Each situation is unique and differs in the content and examples. But recounting the details of an employee’s job well done ensures he or she feels special and individually recognized.
Business philosopher Jim Rohn said it best, “It’s okay to send flowers, but don’t let the flowers do all the talking. Flowers have a limited vocabulary. About the best flowers can say is that you remembered.”
If you give someone flowers or any tangible form of recognition your mindfulness trigger would always suggest adding a card. This is your chance to share your personal feelings about the individual being recognized.
Continuing on, here are some mindfulness tips to use when preparing written expressions of recognition.
3. Being mindful of the medium of the recognition message
Find the perfect note or greeting card to accompany a gift you’re giving someone and perhaps share with them why you selected the gift you did.
The time and effort in selecting the “right” card communicates a certain level of caring.
Specifically acknowledge employees in writing for what they have done with a little more care with your choice of words.
Tell employees why what they have done means so much to you and to others. You’ll be amazed how this adds a greater degree of genuineness.
Create a phrase to sum up your gratitude and express that to the individual such as “Thank you! I am grateful for all you have done.”
Your expression of appreciation, whether spoken or written, elevates any tangible token of recognition that you give to your employees!
Learning to be more mindful in your recognition giving is not as easy as it sounds. Just be mindful enough to start and you will soon see the change you make.
Question: What steps can you take today to be more mindful around recognition giving?
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.