There is one thing I came into the recognition field to do. That task was to ban saying “good job” as an act of feedback or recognition expression.
Yet they have brainwashed many of us since childhood from home and school, and then into the workplace, to both hear and use those two words.
I am going to explain to you exactly why you must eradicate ever saying the words “good job.” Then I will give a simple way to replace those words. You will feel more confident about being able to give meaningful recognition. And you’ll be perceived as a more genuine recognizer.
You would think that giving recognition to people was something pretty easy to do, right?
Unfortunately, even if you get over the resistance and discomfort of recognizing people, there’s another challenge to overcome. That’s the challenge of expressing your recognition the best way possible.
It doesn’t matter how you give your recognition. It could be verbally face-to-face, on the phone, or through videoconferencing. Then again, it might be by text-based, SMS, a handwritten card, or an electronic ecard. Whatever way you do it, I want to recommend that you put more time and care into how you say your recognition.
Your words could make or break the recognition you give people. I don’t think we fully realize the impact our words have on employees. Blogger and author, Rachel Wolchin, said, “Be mindful when it comes to your words. A string of some that don’t mean much to you, may stick with someone else for a lifetime.”
I want you to examine more closely the type of vocabulary you use. Check out the phrasing of your recognition messages more carefully.
The best words you use to express your recognition verbally or by text and writing will add greater meaning to your intended message.
David Hauser, an associate professor at Queen’s University, advises from his research on the semantic effect of word choice to “Simply be aware of the words that you use, because people will make inferences that might not match your intended meaning.”
He further highlights that, “It’s a matter of word choice. You might be better off finding the right word by looking at how most people speak rather than looking in a dictionary or thesaurus.”
I am not suggesting that you get all fancy with how you express recognition. But what is important is to realize that how you recognize people with your word choice can become even better than they are now.
Sarcasm is also known as verbal irony, and humor often tempers it. It’s a type of speech that has a semantic interpretation opposite to its literal meaning. Too often it is used to say something opposite of what is true, intending to make someone look or feel foolish.
Whatever people say sarcastically should not be taken literally. However, that’s not saying people don’t take it the wrong way. As communication experts will tell you, many people have been on the receiving end of sarcastic comments and it can hurt.
I had just read marketing author, Seth Godin’s blog post, in which he concluded with the line – “Specific can be its own reward”. And I wholeheartedly agree.
Being specific in your expressions of recognition and praise can be a rewarding experience for the recipient. Which is why I want to emphasize the need for this recognition principle to be taught to your managers and employees.
My goal is to encourage you to help those you lead be specific or become more specific with their recognition expressions. (more…)