In my work to help people give real recognition wherever they work, I’ve been able to conduct research on the essential behaviors effective managers do well in giving employees authentic recognition.
I identified a total of 40 behaviors observed in people recognizing one another. These were grouped into 5 categories or domains to help us focus people more clearly on the different types of behaviors.
Then we solicited experts in the field of employee recognition to rank these behaviors by how important they were and the level of positive impact they had and how frequently effective recognizers used them.
What I want to do for you today is give you just the top 5 behaviors that if you will implement and improve upon will make you a better recognizer of those around you.
Are you ready?
5 Pillars of Recognition
To set the stage I had better tell you about the 5 categories I created to group all of these 40 behaviors under and define them for you so you will understand what I mean by them.
The first is Appreciative Listening. Appreciative Listening is the set of positive, active listening skills and attitudes which demonstrate someone respects and values another person and their contributions. You can value and acknowledge someone without even saying a word by genuinely listening to them.
Another domain is Recognition Talking. Recognition Talking is the set of positive communication and feedback skills which demonstrate someone gives genuine and authentic praise and recognition to others. There is great power in the words we use to honor those around us.
Then there is Praiseworthy Actions. Praiseworthy Actions is the set of positive actions and nonverbal skills by which someone shows they care and appreciate other people. Sometimes recognition is enhanced simply by how we execute our delivery of recognition.
Another behavioral grouping is Rewarding Giving. Rewarding Giving is the set of positive actions and familiarity with personal preferences that make any recognition given meaningful and effective. Understanding what type of recognition is meaningful to another person is critical so you must learn how to do this well.
Last, but not least, is Acknowledging Intent. Acknowledging Intent is the positive intention, attitude and awareness of the importance and value of appreciation and recognition in the lives of employees. You can give recognition for the wrong reasons and lose all trust and positive impact – so give recognition with the right intent.
Top 5 Ranked Recognition Behaviors
I am going to give you the top 5 ranked recognition behaviors identified through our content validation research. Each of the behaviors below were the highest ranked behavior within each of the 5 respective domains.
Recognition Behavior #1: Under the Appreciative Listening category, the top behavior identified was putting away distractions and paying attention to what people are saying to you. This act alone speaks volumes in demonstrating respect to a person and showing they are valued.
Recognition Behavior #2: Within the Recognition Talking domain the top ranked behavior was a total surprise to me. What came out as most important, impactful and most frequent in great recognizers was using an appropriate tone of voice when speaking to people. The voice speaks right to the heart of people and they feel it.
Recognition Behavior #3: Looking at Praiseworthy Actions our roster of recognition experts ranked the act of demonstrating authenticity in the recognition and praise given to people as the highest behavior. Coming across as sincere and genuine with the recognition you give is critical if you want it received properly.
Recognition Behavior #4: The most important behavior with Recognition Giving was making sure that whenever you give any tangible gift or award to make sure you accompany it with spoken or written words of appreciation. The gift alone does not convey the real message employees need to know.
Recognition Behavior #5: Finally, under the Acknowledging Intent category, we learned how essential it is the giver of recognition believes the act of giving recognition can actually impact employee engagement and drive performance. If you don’t believe recognition makes a difference it will come through non-verbally or verbally when you attempt to give it and lose all meaningfulness.
Choose one of these behaviors and monitor yourself for one week as to how well you currently do in practicing this routinely or not. The next week take charge and practice living this behavior each day to the best of your abilities as you interact, meet with and work alongside your peers and employees.
Repeat this process for each of the other behaviors.
I know you can improve the way you recognize and appreciate those you work and live with as you master these 5 top ranked behaviors.
Now go and make “Real Recognition”™ happen!
Question: What actions or behaviors have you seen effective recognizers consistently display?
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.