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Five Ways To Give Your Team Recognition

Know your team

It seems a very simple and basic place to start, but get to know your team as individuals, each one.

It doesn’t matter how big the team is, take the time to really know who they are and how they tick.

This alone will give them more recognition than most people get from their managers in a lifetime.

It’s probably best to do this on a one to one basis.

By all means use all the information that is at hand, HR appraisals, feedback from other managers, team meetings, your own observations but take the time to schedule a one to one.

Structure it well, in the right environment and make it engaging.

This person is going to be delivering on key objectives for you as part of a team but as an individual.

Respect this and it will pay you dividends immediately.

From the employee perspective a one to one could be a rare occasion, there may be some suspicion.

Or it may be just what they expect and the way it is handled could set the tone for a long while to come.

No pressure then.

From a manager’s standpoint you may be on the cusp of a fascinating discovery.

One that may change the way you view this person and their contribution.

They will undoubtedly have hidden talents.

If handled well, the way this turns out will change the dynamics forever.

If handled badly, it will change the dynamics forever.

Either way you stand on the edge of a point of recognition that will impact you both.

This one recognition act will give a huge boost for everyone.

Treat the team all the same - as individuals

Sometimes the subtlety of this one is missed.

There is a misconception that you treat people as you would like to be treated.

This may be a good place to start but in truth it is a little arrogant.

Not everyone is like me for example, I know this now.

It has taken many years to understand this and now it is starting to pay off.

In a nutshell we are all different, even if we look the same, work at the same place do the same job even take the same lunch break.

I may wear a blue suit because it’s the only one I could get that fitted me last year, you wear it because you think it makes you look slim.

I work here because I applied and got accepted and you work here because it is a way for you to experience different cultures.

We lunch at the same time and often the same place because it is convenient for me and you love the soup.

The point is until you really know someone you can’t really know them.

You won’t know what they like, how they would like to be treated or be appreciated.

Recognising them in a certain way may miss the mark, it can be a bit of a lottery.

If you do not hit the spot with your well-intended attempts, then you could think the other person is ungrateful.

When in actual fact they think you are being insensitive.

It’s a minefield this stuff, unless you do the hard yards as suggested in point one, get to know them for who they are.

It may seem strange to you that one of your team doesn’t want to go to Miami on an all-expenses paid company trip if the project succeeds, they would much prefer the cash equivalent to finish off their bathroom remodelling!

In order for your recognition strategies to pay full dividends you must treat all team members as individuals and celebrate their differences and what they each bring to the party that makes it swing.

Have a vision, then share it

A vision is important to unite the individuals within the team.

It doesn’t matter whose vision it is, the leaders, the managers or the team leaders but it needs to inspire and move people.

“A man’s vision must exceed his field of view”

When I crafted these words many years ago, I had a horizon in my mind and a picture of a paradise just beyond it.

When I work back from this, I know it is just what’s out of reach that keeps us moving forward.

Those extra few pounds on the diet, those tenths on the running track.

If we think we can do it we often don’t bother to try, much like if we think we can’t, we don’t bother either.

But there is something about an horizon that draws you in especially when you believe your goal is just over the top.

To draw others in with you, you need to share this vision.

Nothing unites a band of individuals like a common goal, ask any Politician.

How you share your vision is important too.

The written word is good, with pictures could be better but in person, spoken from the heart would be better still.

Using all of these and involving action would be the ultimate best.

These are the principles used by all good communicators from dictators to religious leaders to rock stars.

And to really gel your team by inviting them into your dream and involving them in the vision of the future, getting their buy in and commitment is one sure way of genuinely showing recognition that will last you all through the challenges ahead.

Be Consistent

Stay on message, both internally and externally.

If there is a budget freeze it is so frustrating when travel is capped to hear that the management team are flying to China to have a European planning meeting!

Be prepared for some looks from staff.

Pay attention to consistency across all platforms: email, marketing, staff notice boards etc.

Be consistent too in your hiring and firing.

It should be the same treatment for all departments, all staff.

It’s not hard to see how this can affect recognition.

Probably if you are inconsistent in your consistency the effect will be negative.

People will start to mistrust your communication.

Paying someone a compliment is an obvious way to show recognition.

Done well this can transform someone’s day and give them such a lift.

However, your team will see through being falsely flattered and this will erode any trust you have.

Always be sincere with your recognition and your team will move mountains for you.

Communicate regularly

This just doesn’t mean staying on message.

Although this is necessary.

Be consistent in your message and in the frequency of your messaging.

People need to hear things more than once, some say daily for months, in snippets.

John P Kotter in his book “Leading Change” says one of the errors leaders make in change programmes is under-communicating the vision by a factor of ten.

To me this is what consistency is about: to always be on top of your communication, in all areas.

If you are consistent and communicate regularly people know what to expect and when.

Repetition is the mother of all learning.

Sincerity is important.

With your communications, being consistent with your recognition is important and it needs to be genuine and appropriate.

Frequency is what works for you and your team and the individuals involved.

Whatever you think, factor it by ten.

I wonder if people will ever tire of being told how good they are if it’s really meant and is backed with the right kind of supportive behaviours.

Telling someone they are a valued member of the team one minute then ignoring them for the next week, just builds resentment.

Even if you have tonnes on your mind, they cannot read it!

Sometimes it’s as Thumper says in Bambi “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”.

The Conclusion

Remember paying recognition to your team is simple, maybe as simple as a smile, but it’s not easy.

It requires thought and energy, sometimes more than you think.

But the pay back is enormous.

But remember too: “One recognition does not fit all” we are all as different as our fingerprints.

Paul F. Warriner

Paul F. Warriner

Consultant | Coach | Trainer


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