Are you ever hesitant to recognize people…I think I know why…
Have you ever praised someone and had your recognition rejected? You probably wonder and ask yourself what did I do wrong, I don’t get it? I was trying to do something positive by telling the other person “you deserve this”, “I appreciate you and you’re doing a good job” but the reaction I got was not at all what I was expecting (or even downright offensive).
Let’s take a step back for a moment. Let’s get some perspective. When we can do that, it’s easier to not take it personally.
For example, maybe it’s not about the recognition at all. The other person may be going through something their life that is making it difficult to accept recognition at that moment. Perhaps they lack self-confidence to be able to receive positive feedback. And let’s not forget that as Canadians, we’re a pretty humble bunch and are not used to taking compliments.
If giving recognition is not dependent on the other person’s reaction, then you are less likely to let it deter you from giving it. Persist and show the other person that you are sincere and that he/she truly deserves it.
Here are some additional strategies and tools to help fuel positive recognition:
- Find Out How People Want To Be Recognized
Survey people on their preferred ways to be recognized. For those of you who have used the recognition and motivation assessment tool, you’ve probably already discovered that people are as diverse with their preferences of recognition methods as they are with their personalities. It’s amazing how many people come back to me and they say, “I have no idea what a unique subset of recognition preferences I have in my team.”
- Practice The Three Recognition Methods Almost Everyone Prefers
There are three effective ways in which people want to be recognized:
- Verbally say thank you
- Tell the person specifically what he/she is being recognized for
- Write a thank-you note
Written forms of acknowledgment can be a more comfortable method for those people who have difficulty giving recognition face to face (we talk more about this in my book in Chapter 5 if you’re curious).
- Value Your Colleagues’ Strengths
You can use the VIA Signature Character Strengths Survey (it’s a free evidence-based tool out of Penn State University’s Positive Psychology department). This tool can be used in a team setting or one-on-one. By knowing everyone’s strengths, you are better able to notice them when they show up. And when you notice them, you can recognize them. Bonus here is that people often value their strengths (that’s why they keep growing), so when you recognize what people value, the recognition is more likely to be received well.
Now unconditional recognition is sometimes debated (shouldn’t people do their job and we only recognize going above and beyond?) However, in today’s quickly evolving world, not only is the employee experience a pioneering way to think, but recognizing someone for doing their job is a strategy to keep them engaged (and doing more of what is working)! Often times we only give praise and acknowledgment based on metrics, indicators of performance, and place the bar exceedingly high yet often on quickly evolving priorities. Instead, let’s recognize anything that’s working, however small when we notice it, as well as the huge milestones and exceptional performance.
Positivity on the whole naturally fosters positivity in return. When you invite positivity into your team environment, you are helping to build a more collaborative team, stronger organization and increased continuous improvement attempts. It’s a mindset where you are recognizing people for the greater good. It goes beyond just you and the other person – it benefits those who witness it, customers they’ll deal with later and their families they go home to. Not to mention the endorphins, those ‘feel good’ chemicals your body produces, which flow through your brain, triggered as a result of positive thinking and behavior.
“I hope that I’ve helped you in some way to understand how important recognition is and how to deliver it”. It’s an important part of our lives and all too often we forget to acknowledge it. I would love to hear your feedback on any of these strategies or what the outcome was when you used them? What other strategies would you suggest? And please share below another tip you would add to the list!