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People like to be recognized and crave praise for doing good work. People crave praise, but do not always like to give it. One of your jobs as manager is to make sure you give out praise as often as possible. In the workplace it really holds true because it is a place where they spend on average 40 hours a week. People want to be happy and secure in a place where they spend so much of their time. It only takes a few seconds to say, “Thank you,” and “great job,” but you get years of return. It’s so easy, and quite effective.
Here are 12 ways to recognize and praise your staff in a professional and dignified way:
Don’t hesitate to acknowledge the good things. Whenever there are events such as when a project is completed, a task is performed, monthly goals are achieved, a compliment from a customer is given, evidence of good work is seen in documentation, or a compliment from another co-worker is given, be absolutely sure you make it a priority to talk to that individual as soon as possible and give them a true hearty thank you. There might even be times when the employee already knows, for example, a customer gave a nice compliment regarding their performance. It would do so much harm if you did not take the time to thank that person. An employee, who feels they have not received any praise recently, or that their best efforts and work performed is ignored, will end up de-moralized and un-motivated.
Praise in public. Not only will the person or team feel good that you praised them, their peers or other departments will also see it. It is also contagious as the more you praise, the more they will want to receive it. There are, however, times when you should praise privately...
Don’t publicly praise an individual on a team related effort. Depending on the situation, in most cases if you only single out one person with praise that was based on a team effort, you are going to damage team morale. For example, if the customer satisfaction goal was achieved you want to first praise the team. You can give praise to an individual as long as you first gave praise to the entire team and then added in the individual praise related to the subject at hand. However, you can and should praise the individual in front of the team if it’s an individual accomplishment not necessarily tied to a team goal.
Post the results on the wall in big letters and in clear view for all to see. You and your team should take pride in achieving the goals set. There should be constant reminders around the office regarding the departments’ objectives. Besides, this will also inspire and motivate everyone to achieve those goals and objectives or else all will see the dirty laundry of the department…
Make it publicly known when there is something positive to shareabout an employee. This is not necessarily praise for individual performance in front of the whole team, but an anomaly of sorts when something good is said or happened with a particular employee. Don’t embarrass the person or make the other team members jealous, but do it in a way that shows how this contributes to the overall success of the team and department. For example, an important customer who normally is hard to please gave a compliment to a particular individual. This good news should be shared. You should also periodically share good news with the senior management team. It’s a win/win situation because it also makes you look good as the manager of the individual. *Note: If there are any negative comments about an individual, you should never broadcast that information to other employees. This should be a one-on-one conversation with the individual only.
Create a storyboard on the wall to show motivational achievements. Every time you get a customer compliment, one employee recognizes another for extraordinary work, or an exceptional task was completed, you should document and post it on a “Celebration Wall.” It does not have to be elaborate and will cost next to nothing. Document the achievement with the employee’s name, or team effort, in big print and pin it to the wall. Continue doing this and before you know it, your wall will be filled with inspirational comments. The more stories that are posted, the more people will want to be included in the storyboard. If you run out of room, continue it on another wall. There does not need to be any big fanfare, just a posting on the wall. You should, however, have already given a personal note of gratitude to the individual or team as well.
Recognize and praise quickly. It you wait too long to tell someone about a recognizable event, it will lose its effectiveness. It can also create a certain anxiety, as the employee would have thought up to that time, that you did not notice the exceptional work.
Give Praise, recognition and positive feedback on what means the most to the individual and team. Be sure to praise correctly. Praising a job well done on a specific skill or true attained goal is meaningful. Generically praising for praising sake, especially if you are missing the important point, looks bad on you and you will lose respect. For example, a technician troubleshot and fixed a very difficult repair. Instead of focusing on the technician’s excellent troubleshooting skills, your praise was related to a lack of typing mistakes. Sure that’s important, but it missed the true mark. This is why it is important to fully understand just what it is that your employees do related to their job functions. Using the example above, if you do not realize how difficult the troubleshooting was done to fix the problem, the technician will be demoralized thinking you do not realize just how good they are and how hard it was to truly resolve the issue.
Admiration of a person’s skill is a show of respect and recognition. Sometimes the most important way to recognize good work is to be in true awe of an employee’s performance. This can be based on their skills, knowledge, attitude, etc. True respect for the team or individual is truly meaningful.
Go into detail regarding the recognition. Follow up the "thank you" with more in depth comments about the good deed done. It will show you truly mean it and understand the positive impact that was made.
Write a letter, forward the e-mail, or write the e-mail yourself. Proof of a written compliment is very powerful. You can cc the team and if desired, upper management. Simple, but effective and so easy to do.
Have someone in upper management take the time to acknowledge the individual or team. Ask your boss or someone else in senior management to personally thank the individual or team. This simple gesture goes a long way. It also makes upper management feel good about what they are doing, and makes you look good for suggesting it. Another win/win situation.
Points to keep in mind:
The effect of giving praise is a very powerful and productive tool. The individual or team not only feels better about themselves, but will most likely think, “I can do it even better.” So chances are their performance will improve to an even higher standard. Studies show that positive feedback releases the chemical “Dopamine” which is a stimulant of excitement. Interestingly enough, you will also feel more positive about yourself.
Don’t start with praising, and end with a lecture. If you approach someone or the team with the intention to praise, don’t then turn it in to a time to focus on the negative. It’s like a child who is proud about getting an “A” on their report card, but you then quickly focus on the “C”. There is a time and place to talk about the “C”, but not at that moment.
Praise when praise is truly due. The team or individual needs to earn praise, not just get it because they all showed up to work on time or just doing normal daily tasks. If you praise for the expected things, it will lose effect on the exceptional things.