It’s easy to get distracted by technology, people, and competing priorities in our lives and not recognize the great things people do around us. And then there are our workloads, which are often overwhelming, and stop us from interacting with people.
You might struggle with naturally being good at giving recognition. You were not outstanding in academic or sports at school. Home might not have been an exemplary place to receive praise or accolades.
Knowing how to give recognition is not always easy. You may be asking yourself:
- How do I give better recognition?
- How do I give recognition more frequently?
- How can I recognize more people?
Let’s tackle these questions by learning how you can make recognition giving a regular habit in your life.
The Human Part of Habits
Always remember that human habits supersede any technological tools you might think you need to use.
Deliberate habits are not easy and they will need consistent and constant practice. A habit is something you commit to doing each and every day.
First, identify your intrinsic motivation. What motivates you to want to be a better recognition giver anyway? Why do you want to make this a habit in your life?
Identify what your intentions are for acknowledging people. Make sure your motives are “other-centered” and not for manipulative, selfish reasons. Write out what your goals are for expressing praise and recognition to people. What difference will this make to you when you learn to recognize people well? What feelings do you think you will have after you’ve recognized someone?
I personally love making a difference in people’s lives and feel joy and happiness when I make someone’s day by praising and recognizing them. These are some of my motivations.
What are yours?
Second, become more able to give recognition. I got into the field of employee recognition because I saw a need many employees had for wanting to be appreciated and valued. However, the problem was also apparent that no one was showing people how to give recognition the right way.
I believe most managers and employees want to appreciate the work of their peers. They are motivated to give recognition they just don’t have the abilities or skills to do so effectively.
Learn the various practices and skills for how to give better recognition. Knowledge is a powerful tool to help you be motivated and able to master this habit. Practice your newfound skills and behaviors as often as you can. Plan in your calendar to practice a specific skill and record what you learned afterward.
As you become more confident and competent you will see how you light up the lives of those at work with your genuine acts and words of appreciation. Notice your feelings and emotions following giving praise and recognition to people.
Think about some skills with recognition giving you know you need to improve in. Read and study them. Then put them into practice this week.
Third, look for recognition triggers or opportunities. You need trigger events in your life to tell your brain to automatically get into gear and habit mode with recognition giving.
Think about what precedes any act of recognition.
You typically have to have a positive interaction or conversation with a person first in order to learn what they are doing or something they’ve achieved that merits recognition. You might observe someone making a positive contribution on the job or serving people in a positive, exemplary way. Or you might hear second-hand a positive report about an employee.
These are all triggers that should cause you to react positively and feel emotions and motivation to use your abilities and recognize people.
Remember the TSA announcement of “See something. Say something.”
Make sure to read: See Something, Say Something.
Creating a recognition habit requires you to practice giving recognition every day.
- Start with answering your “why” – your purpose and the motivational reason for consistently acknowledging people.
- Pick up on the skills you need to hone and master so you are better able to give recognition.
- Look out for people to praise, compliment, and recognize, at home, work and in your community, and be sure to act upon these opportunities every time you come across one.
Reflective Question: How have you developed better habits with recognizing people at work more frequently and consistently?
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.