One of the most important tasks as a leader is to motivate their team. Different team members are motivated by different things. Some like public recognition, others prefer private praise, and some need it more, and some need it less. As humans, I would argue that nearly all of us enjoy some form of recognition. And, it’s one of the least expensive forms of motivation. It does not even need to cost us a dime when tailored to the individual and done genuinely.
Leaders I coach often question, “I am supposed to recognize someone for doing their job? I do my job every day and no one recognizes me.” The answers is yes. As leaders, we have to take the high road. This means that we need to prioritize the time to give people positive feedback. And, if we invest the time, studies show that team member performance increases.
What we choose to focus on matters. When recognized, team members are more likely to repeat these behaviors, leading to better business results associated with these positive behaviors like increased client satisfaction, productivity, and/or quality of work.
Some tangible strategies to improve your culture of recognition as a leader are:
- Kudos boards
- Start meetings with “tell me something good”
- Real time recognition
A simple tool to build team morale – a visual display of all the great things the team is doing as a reminder of what good looks like. This can be done in a variety of ways – a bulletin board in a break room or common area with post-it notes to recognize freely in the moment, a recognition box where team members can privately share their praise and leaders can display with employee approval later, or a client appreciation area with testimonials showcasing great client service. I have seen it done well in various formats. The key is getting buy-in from the team on how they want to be recognized, and tailoring the kudos board to their preferred format of recognition. If they are a part of the idea to start, team members are far more likely to engage with the program and participate.
Each team is different, and their recognition needs are different too.