Some people seem to be just a natural when they are out and about in the company as far as appreciating people for who they are and recognizing the wonderful contributions made by employees.
There will always be others who have a much harder time in recognizing others. For whatever reasons, such as not being recognized as a child, perhaps more introverted, or plain uncomfortable with knowing what to say or do, recognition doesn’t happen.
But the great news is that giving awesome recognition to people is a skill anyone can learn.
When you know what something hard to do looks like, such as a new skill you have to learn, observe those people that do it well. Then all you have to do is reverse engineer how they do the task or skill and then you can replicate this ideal performance and do it yourself.
What does awesome recognition look like? How can you learn to master this art and science of giving meaningful and effective recognition?
Before Any Recognition Happens
First, recognition does not happen because you will it to be. There are some prerequisites that must be in place first.
There’s a set of right behaviours and attitudes required before reaching out and attempting recognition giving. By examining individuals who have mastered recognition giving you will quickly identify the following traits, behaviours, and attitudes.
They are grounded and present. I have always loved the statement that when you are in the room be in the room. Great recognizers know how to be fully engaged with the people they are with. This is very disarming and allows people to have their guard down and be open and transparent with their leader or manager.
They connect regularly with people. People who give awesome recognition know how to have a one-on-one interaction with their direct reports. When I say interactions, this does not have to be a face-to-face meeting. They’ll take advantage of phone calls, texts, and even emails to learn more about what their employees are doing.
They discover people’s successes. Because of the frequency of those interactions with employees, they can’t help but find out what employees are working on. They know what is meaningful to the employee with their growth and development. When employees have achieved something exciting these managers already know.
They know their people well. Interestingly, these exceptional leaders and managers have invested time and energy to know their employees. They know their personal interests, family situation, and their preferences for how they like to be recognized and rewarded. This makes recognition a personalized experience with depth and meaning.
During Any Recognition Delivery
Having the above recognition prerequisites in place allows an exceptional recognition giver to concentrate on how they express or deliver their awesome recognition to worthy employees.
They know the full details. Their homework and observation skills have identified specifically what an employee has done that merits recognition. You’ll see that they take time to not only find out what the employee did but also why they excelled at the task performed.
They look for the difference made. When someone does something worthy of being recognized, you’ll find it’s because the action made a difference to someone else. These great recognizers will keep digging until they find out who was impacted by this employee’s actions being recognized.
They say it just the right way. They base awesome recognition on choosing just the right words. And it also requires having the right tone of voice when conveying the message. Or it is a handwritten note that becomes a real keepsake because of what they communicated and for the time invested in doing this.
They do it the right way. If one employee prefers to receive the limelight of a public acknowledgement, then that’s what they will receive. Awesome recognition also includes respecting an employee’s request for private recognition because they are uncomfortable being in front of many people. Great recognition is respectful.
After the Recognition is Given
Regular recognition is so performance focused that if there is no outcome or results achieved, then no recognition happens. But givers of awesome, real recognition know how to make the recognition linger on and bloom.
They create recognition memories. Why deliver awesome recognition in a fleeting minute or two, only to have it disappear after its receipt. These leaders and managers orchestrate opportunities for taking photographs or videos to make the memory of the recognition last afterward.
They follow up on recognized actions. Some actions and events recognized are just the beginning of ongoing successful achievements. Givers of awesome recognition tend to follow up with employees to find out the never-ending story of the next steps. Whenever they see the recognized employee they will always stop and converse.
They foster ongoing progress. A recognized employee may be a diamond in the rough. Leaders and managers who give awesome recognition are always encouraging recognized employees to stretch and grow by setting goals for further success. They will mentor such employees wherever they can.
They encourage other recognizers. People who give awesome recognition don’t boast about their skills. They know they learned recognition giving the same way as everyone else has to. Except in their case they are prepared and willing to teach others what they have learned. Awesome recognition givers are great coaches of others.
Hopefully, you can see ways to educate your leaders and managers in your organization to develop these skills and attitudes for giving awesome recognition to others.
Recognition Reflection: What skills and attitudes have you observed in those who always give awesome recognition to others?
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.
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