Teach Your Leaders How To Be Exemplary Recognizers

Recognition does not come naturally to everyone.

Leaders at the top of your organization should show the leadership competency skills that they expect from their direct reports. Leaders should help others to lead.

But that isn’t always the case.

Your goal for each organizational leader is to get them to inspire and value the contributions of one additional person every day.

How do you teach your leaders to be amazing recognizers of your staff?

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Are You Really Giving People Recognition on Purpose?

Do you know why you recognize people?

If you haven’t thought about why you appreciate and recognize people, take some time out to articulate your beliefs and reasons for recognizing the people you work, play, and live with.

For me it is about appreciating people for who they are, independent of any work they do, and valuing everything that a person brings with them to the workplace. It’s about recognizing people for all that they do—both the insignificant and the amazing things people do. 

Recognition is about valuing people and their contributions. It is the transferring of positive feelings and emotions from one person to another, in response to an employee’s positive behaviors or actions.

What is your purpose for giving recognition?

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Let Your Leaders Know What It’s Like To Be Unrecognized

Sometimes they just don’t get it, do they?

You’ll hear a comment from a leader questioning the import of your wanting to create a recognition strategy. Another leader glosses over the latest engagement survey results and states that 56% percent on the recognition questions is good, isn’t it? These are all real scenarios.

Now I am well aware this does not describe all leaders. But there are enough to cause concern.

A few of them don’t understand why some employees are complaining about a lack of recognition. They think they pay their employees well and they have good jobs. What more can they want?

Sounds like it’s time to let your leaders know what it feels like to be unrecognized.

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When Senior Leaders Get In The Way of Recognition

There’s a big difference with how recognition is perceived by people in different parts of the world.

When I was working in India, for example, I found the people there had a preoccupation with getting tangible or monetary rewards. Why? This was mainly because the pay employees earned in India was so low their goal was to meet basic needs. If they could receive any additional money they would take it.

In France, they too found rewards more important than say verbal appreciation. However, this was not for economic reasons. For the majority of managers I dealt with there, they felt that recognition was too much of an “Americanized” rah, rah, exercise. They gave the “touchy-feely” complaint. I had to remind them that I was originally from England, and now a Canadian. I also told them that the recognition I had received, so far, actually felt pretty good.

The irony is, that in all fourteen countries, I’ve been to, including India and France, a majority of employees indicated through engagement surveys that they did not feel valued and appreciated for the work they did. They lacked recognition, beyond rewards and pay.

A subscriber, and manager, from South Africa, raised the concern of how senior leaders would not permit managers and staff to practice giving recognition to one another. They even had a hard time enlisting HR’s help with making real recognition happen in their organization.

What would you do in such a situation? Can one manager impact an organization to make recognition happen?

Following are some suggestions to consider when leaders get in the way of employee recognition. (more…)

Do You Really Educate Your People To Give Recognition?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

One of my biggest concerns about learning employee recognition skills is how companies are relying too much on training.

You are well aware that training is about learning how to do new things especially if you don’t know how. It is providing opportunities to practice those skills and transfer what you have learned out of the classroom, or online course, and into the real world.

But, you may have seen, as I have, that managers often receive the training and nothing really changes.

My advice to you is to make sure you couple any training you provide with education.

Ask yourself if you are educating your people to give recognition versus just training them to do so.

Education is completely different than training. I found that out later in life. (more…)

How To Shape Diversity and Inclusion With Recognition

There is a lot a talk lately about diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

A simple search of the combined terms yielded results of over 148 million references.

And I was recently asked a question about how employee recognition comes into play with both diversity and inclusion.

I think the question being asked was more about whether effective employee recognition practices can have any impact on diversity and inclusion.

Here are my thoughts. (more…)

3 Things You Gotta Have In Your Recognition Strategy

No matter where in the world I have been and asked to conduct a Recognition Strategy session – whether in Columbus, Ohio or Mumbai, India – the end product has always been amazement at the simplicity and depth of what the people in the room just created.

What is a recognition strategy?

It is a written declaration of what leaders in an organization believe recognition really is and what it means to them. It also shares why they intend to practice recognition giving for the benefit of employees, for their customers and even for their shareholders.

Going into these sessions everyone involved always thinks they know exactly what recognition is.

Surprise! Not so. It often takes a little bit of education first to differentiate between rewards and recognition before we can proceed.

So, what must you absolutely have in order to create a well-crafted Recognition Strategy?

There are actually three things that you must have in a Recognition Strategy: (more…)

Do You Really Maintain A Culture With Recognition?

I have written before about stopping people from creating a “this or that” culture.

In fact, in the early stages of my career, I used to deliver a course called “Making A Real Recognition® Culture”.

Now I refute this belief I once stated.

You only need one culture.

Your culture is your company’s purpose, vision and values. It is the explicit way you do things where you work. It’s the common set of beliefs and appropriate behaviors everyone strives to follow.

You don’t need a culture of engagement, a culture of trust, a culture of collaboration, or a culture of growth, innovation, or change, for that matter.

You shouldn’t even have a recognition culture.

What you need is your very own culture – whatever it is you and your organization stand for.

But the question asked is whether recognition will help you maintain your organizational culture. (more…)

Can I Help You Change Your Mind?

 

For many years when giving workshops on how to be more effective and authentic in giving employee recognition, I often use the words “Beliefs – Behaviors – Results” in a PowerPoint® slide or on flip charts to help participants understand the power and differences of recognition and rewards.

It was much easier to talk about how one can impact behaviors and results than it was beliefs. Beliefs, of course, seemed so much more personal and unchangeable. Yet how often did faulty beliefs, hang ups and barriers get in the way of noticing and appreciating people’s great work.

Can we really do anything to alter people’s beliefs in the learning environment? Can we change people’s minds? (more…)

What Is Your “WHY?” For Giving People Recognition?

If you don’t know why you are giving recognition to people then why give it at all.

You had better define what your why is for recognizing people before you attempt to praise someone. And it had better be a good enough reason to get you excited about it.

People will quickly see through you and hear well enough whether you are being authentic or not. Don’t even think about faking recognition. (more…)