Show ‘Em What Good Looks Like

Inclusive leaders show their teams what good looks like.  They model the way for others to follow.

“Recognize what you want to happen again”

Recognition is one of the most effective, and inexpensive ways we can reward our teams.  I love the mantra – recognize what you want to happen again.  It really is that simple.  When we are looking for something good to happen, and catch someone doing it, why not take a minute to recognize it.  This can be done in a variety of ways – in public or privately, or through email, in-person, text, phone, or even instant message.  The important thing to consider is recognizing the behavior, and how that person wants to be recognized.  Even when privately, just sharing the story with others helps increase the chances of it happening again.  Our team needs to know what good looks like.  Then, they will follow suit.

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As with many of our concepts, this is best illustrated through a story.  Jenn, a compassionate leader in one of my workshops, utilizes a variety of tools with her diverse team.  She has a team kudos board that is located in a central traffic area of the office.  There is a stack of kudos papers just waiting for team members to write down and share something good that happens.  They started this habit over a year ago, and the team is still using it regularly.  They start team meetings reading and sharing the new kudos on the board.  I also like the “tell me something good,” in lieu of a kudos board to start a meeting.  In addition to making recognition a cultural norm, it also sets a positive tone for the meeting.

Jenn also keeps a stack of $5 gift cards in her office with thank you notes, on demand in the time of a recognition emergency.  When she sees something good happen or hears about it from a team member, she writes a personal note and slides in a small token of appreciation.  It’s that simple.  Those that receive the recognition feel genuinely valued and important.  They, in turn, do more of that good thing, and it spreads throughout the team and sets the norm for the culture.  She switches up the recognition techniques every few months to keep it fresh and meaningful for the team – layering in team dinners, bonuses, or special events as well.

As leaders, we’re wired to look for something bad to swoop in and correct.  Try flipping this notion to – looking for something good to catch someone doing.  The more we recognize and reward good behaviors, the more we increase the chances of it happening again, which decreases the frequency and need for corrections or redirections.

For me, recognition drives me.  I keep thank you cards by my desk in my home office, and look at them often to motivate me.  Here’s a picture from a good friend, and trusted colleague I received after a speaking event.

Leaders that recognize what they want to happen again have better business results.

How will you recognize your team?