It’s much simpler to continue doing something that is recognized as positive than it is to learn from one’s mistakes and change behavior. Therefore, if you want someone to continue doing good work, you will need to acknowledge what was good work. Providing recognition and rewards is a fun part of your job that will make everyone—yourself and your team members—feel good.
You may or may not have the ability to increase your team members’ compensation, but it is always within your power to praise good work and to thank people for their extra efforts. If you get in the habit of providing recognition and rewards for good work, you may be amazed at how far this takes you in terms of increasing your team members’ motivation to succeed.
Even though recognizing good performance is easy and fun, not every manager thinks to make it part of their daily routine. Other, more pressing concerns may take priority. Or managers think they have provided adequate recognition, but the team members do not experience it the same way. Sometimes managers fail to understand and appreciate how much their own success depends on the work and support of others, so they take more credit for the success of their teams than is appropriate.
If you are wondering whether you provide adequate recognition to your team members, here are some things to consider.
Do you think to acknowledge people’s small achievements as well as their large ones? Large efforts are made of daily decisions to go above and beyond what is expected. If you thank people for doing small things, they are more likely to achieve in the large ones, too.
Do you walk around and see what people are doing right, and thank them for it? Some managers think they shouldn’t thank people for doing what they’re supposed to do, but that isn’t the case. People will continue to do what has been praised. So make a point to praise them, thank them, acknowledge their hard work, and do it as often as possible.
Do you acknowledge your team’s efforts when someone outside the team praises you for your success? In a work environment, everything is achieved through teamwork, and your successes are built on those of your team. Don’t forget to admit that.
Are you aware of how each team member would like to be acknowledged? Not everyone wants to be praised in public. Some people would rather read a personal thank-you note or be taken to lunch to celebrate their achievements. Don’t assume that everyone is the same.
Do you acknowledge the good work of low-visibility people or those who are geographically distant from you? These people need praise, too.
Providing praise and recognition are some of the easiest, most rewarding parts of your job. If you remember to do them regularly, people will likely clamor to work on your team.