What’s Your Intention When You Recognize Someone?

Do you ever wonder why some employees just don’t feel appreciated for all the great things they are doing?

Perhaps it is because the expressions of recognition they receive are not done with meaningful intent.

You know…we’ve all heard the generic and routine phrases of, “Good job!” or “Well done!” spouted out like automatic speech around us.

I picked up on this idea of “intent” the one day when my wife and I gave our car a hand wash in our driveway. She was spraying the car down before we soaped it up.

Innocently (I think!) I got sprayed with some water.

I spontaneously shouted out while smiling, “Hey! Watch it!”

Equally lovingly but with a broad smile on her face, she replied, “If it was intentional I would have done a better job.”

I caught that wifey wisdom, put down my cloth and wrote her words down in my iPhone Notes.

Think about it: If your recognition giving were intentional it would be received well every single time. If you always gave recognition with the right intent you would always focus on the words you would say or actions you would do, how you gave the recognition, and noting the employee’s reaction to it.

You aim better when intentional. Fortunately, I did not get soaked in the way of the water spray that day, but I sure could have if my wife had aimed directly at me. Recognition needs to be aimed directly at the intended person. Aim specifically at the action performed by stating it sharp and clear.

You plan out what you will say or do. Now I am not saying you can’t be spontaneous. By planning I mean follow a simple formula like identifying the situation and describing the positive actions observed; sharing the impact of their actions on others as well as the results they obtained; and sincerely thanking them the best way you can.

You plain well think better about recognition. When you go with the intent to be empathetic and thinking how you want to make the recipient of recognition feel, you will be thinking more carefully. Recognition done well requires thought.

You give it with so much more meaning. Recognizing given with intent is naturally more meaningful. Knowing how the person likes to be recognized sparks creative ideas on what you can do to honor and value them.

You want to immerse the other person in the experience. If my wife had “intended” to spray that water at me I would have been soaked for sure. No matter how a person likes to be appreciated make sure you do all you can to immerse them in the positive feelings of gratitude and thanks the way like it.

You have to put forth your best effort with giving recognition. Being intentional requires effort and an element of hard work with recognizing people. I have never said recognition is easy to do but like anything good and worthwhile in this life the outcome is priceless.

Getting intentional around giving recognition will make all the difference in the world to the people around you. They deserve the very best from you.

Real recognition only happens when you’re intentional.

Question: How do you prepare yourself to give real recognition with real intent?

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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