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.

The other day I was asked a question, Why am I rewarding them for doing their job?” The easy answer is you are not.

You’re not rewarding them, or recognizing them, for doing their job.

You recognize and reward people for making a difference. You’re expressing your appreciation for their valuable contributions. You are thanking them for their tireless, repeated, stick-to-it efforts each and every single day.

Finding Your Why

I love Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action.

The simplicity of his golden circle model is powerful. Make sure you read the book. Or at the very least, watch this TED talk video to learn what his thinking is all about.

Discovering your personal reason behind giving recognition is going to require you to dig deep down into your personal values and beliefs.

Sinek asks us all, “What is your cause? What do you believe?” Turn these questions on to your employee recognition cause and answer what you believe. Write your first impressions down on paper. Refine them. Keep them as simple as possible.

Motivated By WHY

Then when you see or hear about someone doing an action worth acknowledging your “why” will immediately help you with what to do and how to do it.

You must keep your newly articulated “why” front and center. It will help know how to give recognition because you intuitively will know. And you’ll know exactly what to do because you know why you are doing it.

Your acknowledging actions will exude authenticity and awareness of the person’s needs.

Simon Sinek gave us all some wonderful wisdom when he said, “And it is those that start with why, that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.“

The key to remember is that most ideas get spread around because of answering the “why”. Yet we continue to spend most of our time explaining the “what” and the “how” of our concepts like recognition.

Recognition will spread far and wide if you, and others around you, know exactly why they are doing it.

Getting Everyone On Board

Imagine if you could get companies to articulate their why for giving recognition to employees. Think of the impact this could have on everyone recognizing one another.

I facilitate a such a process using the Recognition Strategy Model® to generate such a why for companies. I get as many leaders in the room as possible who understand the importance of recognition.

During a half-day session we get each person to boil down the why in small groups. Then I draw out them the beliefs they feel will sustain recognition.

Each organization I have worked with creates their own unique “why” or cause for giving recognition.

Here are a few sample organizational “Why’s”:

  • We believe motivated employees develop better products and services, so we will ensure our team members feel valued, inspired and proud of their contributions.
  • We believe our team is the heart of XYZ Company and so we encourage and celebrate the contributions of employees and volunteers.
  • We will inspire and shape a culture of excellence by valuing and respecting our colleagues and recognizing their contributions so we achieve excellence every moment every day.

As Sinek said, “Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.”

Having everyone in a company knowing the “why” for recognition not only gets them all on the same page, it becomes the clarion call for inspiring everyone too.

When you know your personal why for giving recognition you’ll discover you are really inspiring people to become the best they can be.

Question: What is your personal “”why” for giving recognition?

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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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