You and I need to learn how to truly value people and their contributions.
When we respect and acknowledge people properly for the effort they make, giving recognition demonstrates our respect for them and shows they are truly worthy of our time.
I have written before how giving recognition does not take very much time to do. Yet, it is the number one reason, or barrier, for why people don’t give recognition.
- Why Time Is An Excuse For Not Giving Recognition
- Squeeze In Some Recognition Time, Right Now!
- 4 Principles for Giving Recognition At The Right Time
Making recognition a part of your DNA – means following a consistent, systematic approach to how, and when, you give people recognition.
- First off, when you see something positive or good simply stop and say something to the person. Make this a way of life whether at work, at home or when you’re in public.
- Begin your day with the intention that you will be grateful to everyone you interact with and all they do for you.
- Whether through a face-to-face encounter, reply to an email request, using your online recognition programs, include positive expressions of acknowledgment, thanks, or praise, every single time you communicate.
“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” – Ralph Marston, Daily Motivator
Dealing With Competing Priorities
As for dealing with competing priorities, I will always remember my early days as a manager of a team of about 8 staff.
My senior leader was not good at conducting performance appraisals with myself or other managers. To make up for this, I usually sought feedback directly from my staff when I conducted their performance appraisals.
I asked each staff member two questions:
1. “What are 2 or 3 things you feel I am doing well as your manager?”
And the other question was:
2. “What are 2 or 3 things you feel I need to improve in as your manager?”
The positive feedback was nice to receive, helped me know what was meaningful to my staff, and gave me some direction on what I needed to continue doing.
Once they got over the initial discomfort of actually telling me where I needed to improve, they shared some kind, but genuinely pointed, feedback.
A problem I had – back in the day of writing paper memos – was taking too long to get back to staff with approving their vacations requests they submitted to me.
Their memo became another task and I prioritized other tasks – whether patient care or organizational requests – at a higher level than my staff’s vacation requests.
When I realized how important my staff member’s vacation requests were to them, I immediately prioritized these requests. Approval became a green light to start dreaming and moving ahead with trip plans.
I discovered the whole process of checking staff seniority levels, other employee’s vacation requests, etc., all took less than a couple of minutes.
From this candid feedback from my employees, I created a principle for myself of “People first; tasks second.”
Ways To Overcome Competing Priorities
The reality is we never have competing priorities.
How can I say that you ask?
The word priority comes from the Medieval Latin word “prioritatem” which means “fact or condition of being prior”. And that means something is always first. There is nothing before it, or prior to, what is already first. Period.
Therefore, what you really have is competing demands, yes, but not “competing priorities”. Priority is a singular word and should never be pluralized.
Therefore, what you really have is competing demands, yes, but not “competing priorities”.
The solution: What you need to do is develop for yourself some personal principles to guide you, that are consistent with your values.
Once you have your principles you can ask yourself questions like a checklist:
- What should I do first, right now?
- Will I regret not recognizing this person if I do this task instead?
- Does recognizing this person help me put people first and tasks second?
- Can I see how recognizing this person really takes very little time in the grand scheme of things?
- How will my life be better for making recognition a priority?
- What was the result I saw in taking time to recognize this person?
Recognition must become a part of your everyday life if it is to be ingrained into your work practices.
Reflective Question: What do you do to make recognizing people a singular priority in your life?
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.
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