Golden Visions & Associations
Thought of the Week
Your Success Thought for the Week of October 29, 2008

Praise and Recognition

It seems like such a simple thing to do—recognize the good things your people do and say ‘thank you.’ The challenge for many of my fast-moving, fast-thinking and action-oriented clients is to remember to do this often, authentically, and consistently.

Though I’ve dealt with this ‘recognition’ challenge for over ten years in my executive leadership coaching practice, it seems a more daunting task lately. There is just too much negativity surrounding us. It seems easier to criticize, and even take pot shots when a little kindness will carry us so much further along toward our goals.

Let’s focus on the significance of praise and recognition. According to Kouzes & Posner in Encouraging the Heart, A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others:

“Study after study points out just how fundamental saying ‘thank you’ is. One survey examining employee turnover found that the chief reason people give for leaving is that they get ‘limited praise and recognition.’ When asked what skills their managers might develop to be more effective, employees place at the top of their list ‘the ability to recognize and acknowledge the contribution of others.’

In 1949, a famous study by Lawrence Lindahl asked employees to rank the intangible rewards of their jobs. Then their managers were asked to rank what they believed employees wanted.

Highest on the employees’ list were:

1. Feeling appreciated

2. Feeling that they were being informed about things that were happening

3. To be listened to

Their managers’ lists of the top things these same employees wanted included:

1. Good wages

2. Job security

3. Advancement opportunities

Think this is old information? This study was repeated in the 1980’s and 1990’s with the exact same results. The employees hadn’t changed in what they truly wanted and sadly the managers weren’t catching on to what motivates these employees after all these years.

Human nature is simple psychology:

If you are with someone who pinpoints your faults, eagerly criticizes you, or demonstrates little appreciation for your talents and efforts, your behavior will reflect this. You’ll be less than motivated, even deflated.

However, if you are with someone who openly respects you, gently points out how you can improve, is eager to see you grow, and celebrates your successes along the way, you’ll enthusiastically rise to their level.

As leaders, we must know that it is simply not about us, but instead, is about the needs of those whom we influence. It’s up to us to remember the bottom line: it feels good to be praised and recognized. It is a motivator for productivity, a stimulator for creativity.

What can and will you can do this week to rise to the level of being a leader who will bring your team to still higher levels through praise, appreciation and recognition. Your team is worth it, and they’ll respond immediately to your heightened, very welcome acknowledgments.

Enjoy your discoveries and have a grand week!


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