In your effort to make recognition flourish throughout the organization you always need the support of your leadership team or a key leader.
Unfortunately, the skills or attributes that sometimes cause certain leaders to rise to the top may not be the people-facing skills needed to make recognition happen the way you would like it to.
In fact, sometimes you will find your role is more focused on stopping leaders from stopping recognition giving.
See if you relate to these seven ways leaders can sometimes stop recognition.
1. Not recognizing people’s achievements. Leaders stop recognition when they refuse to praise or acknowledge people when they go above and beyond with their work and achieve a significant work result.
Create a crowdsourcing method for managers to inform other managers and the leaders above of them of the outstanding achievements made by employees across the company. Make sure leaders know these achievers and invite them to the C-suite to commend them and encourage them. Or at least to pick up the phone and call them or send an email congratulating them.
2. Not taking the lead and being an exemplary giver of recognition. Leaders stop recognition right in its tracks when they personally do not set a proper example personally as well as not expecting recognition and appreciation to happen from others.
Whether you have to coach leaders, point out their bad and good examples, or their lost opportunities, leaders need to be educated on the importance of recognition. Change needs to happen and they are the ones to start the ball rolling by being a positive example of giving recognition.
Be a support to them if recognition does not come naturally to them.
3. Not making recognition a strategic tool. Leaders stop recognition when they relegate it to being just the party planning and giving out pins or awards.
Recognition is so much more than this. You need to align recognition with your business and people strategy initiatives because recognition can be a major contributor. Recognition has the potential to lift people up from where they are and leverages the great work they do to reaching the business goals and focus areas desired.
Show the value behind making recognition a strategic driver.
4. Not allocating sufficient resources to make recognition happen. Leaders stop recognition from happening when they don’t allow sufficient people and financial resources for staffing to communicate and educate everyone on the principles of giving effective and meaningful recognition.
Recognition is not going to happen just because you told people to do more often. You need to show people how to do it because it does not come naturally to a lot of people. Recognition is a learned behavior, so teach people why you want everyone to give it and then teach them how to do it the right way.
Communicate and educate on the importance of daily recognition giving.
5. Not holding other leaders accountable for giving recognition. Leaders stop recognition when they don’t expect people to prove they are doing it well.
Leaders can often set expectations like (and I have heard this happen) “Go say ‘thanks’ more frequently to employees,” and then not do any follow up to ensure it happens. Recognition is much more than just saying “thank you!” When you focus people on specific behavioral expectations and measure how they are doing performance will improve.
Hold each other accountable for recognition and give positive feedback when observed.
6. Not acknowledging the contributions people are making. Leaders stop recognition whenever employees do not feel valued for their contributions and the difference they are making.
Especially for our younger employees, they are much more purpose driven and want to know how their actions are making a difference to the customer and to the company. You need to join the dots between their contribution and the company mission and vision, as well as the bottom line. Effective and meaningful recognition is one of the many ways of letting them know.
Highlight contributions in every meeting where applicable.
7. Not investing wisely in the right recognition programs. Leaders stop recognition when they do not allocate the right monies towards the right programs the company needs to produce the results they want to see.
Recognition programs are simply a tool to help managers and employees practice good recognition skills. Different programs impact different kind of behaviors, so one program may be more effective for reinforcing customer experience indicators while another type of program will be better for elevating sales performance.
Become well versed in the business impact and ROI of your recognition programs.
We all need to help our leaders become better at expressing words of appreciation and demonstrating meaningful recognition experiences.
You may need to put a stop sign up whenever you see your leaders preventing recognition from happening where you work.
Question: How have you seen leaders stop recognition practices where you work?
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