How to Make Recognition Work!

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Recognition is an important part of leadership. It can do wonders for your corporation, school or family. When recognition is implemented correctly it can increase retention, decrease absence, raise production, improve quality, change attitudes, and in general create a momentum of success and positive energy.

It has been wisely stated that a great leader humbly accepts the failures of his organization as his own, and passes any praise and success on as the accomplishments of his colleagues. In addition,  I have always been reminded that a great leader criticizes in private and praises in public. Clearly, recognition is an essential act of leadership. Clearly recognition is important, but so many organizations get it wrong. Many in leadership positions just don’t know how to effectively implement a recognition program, acknowledge someone for their efforts, or how to reward employees.

It’s all about making it personal. 

Leaders have a responsibility to recognize the accomplishments of those within their organization. It is one of the most important duties of a leader. When it is handled well, it really is beautiful and people talk about it for a long time. When it is handled poorly, it is ugly, and people talk about that a long time too. More important is the impact both have on the people that make the magic happen within your organization.

How to Make Recognition Work!

Recognition is powerful. I believe, however, very few organizations get this right. While it is never a bad time to recognize the good works of others, there are some ideas to consider:

  • Let people know exactly what you want. If they know what you want they can work toward the goal. Don’t leave people guessing. Be direct. These are the results we reward.
  • Recognition should be meaningful. Everyone knows when someone deserves the recognition. Don’t reward people because it’s their turn. That’s a step backward. Don’t be afraid to recognize individuals. Sure teams need recognition, but individual recognition is the most powerful form possible.
  • Great recognition is most often inexpensive or free.  Everyone wants to hear praise. Write them a note. Send them a gift card. Tell others the story of why they were recognized.
  • Recognition shouldn’t be predictable. Mix it up. Keep everyone guessing and surprised.
  • Great recognition is memorable. When you tell their story, mention them by name, and make them feel deserving; they’ll remember it. You don’t need to send them to Hawaii. Unless of course, you can.
  • Don’t be afraid to reward the same person more than once, or in a row. Make it personal. You’re not just rewarding people, you’re rewarding the action you want replicated.
  • Encourage others to create their own recognition programs and awards. Let others partake in meaningful recognition. Encourage it. Support it. Participate.

One of my favorite presentations is when I am asked to share my art and words at an award’s banquet or recognition dinner. I love participating in the recognition of others and retelling an amazing story of achievement.  I can see it in the eyes of the recipient when I shake their hand and present them with a piece of customized art. They didn’t even know how awesome they were because they were just doing their best and giving their all. Now someone is telling an amazing story of accomplishment, and it’s about them! You can also tell they will pay forward whatever recognition they received, ten fold. They w will continue with even greater tenacity to innovate and make a difference.  They matter… therefore recognition matters.

Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and artist.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

with his art and words. 

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.