“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” – Peter Marshall
Recognize your people when they exhibit behaviors you want to encourage. Recognize them verbally, in an email, or on a handwritten note. Recognizing someone immediately in a small, informal way can be very effective.
I love being recognized – I think everyone does. My favorite type of recognition from my supervisor is a handwritten note on a Post-It stuck to my desk. This usually happens after I’ve left work and she’s finishing up her day. She acknowledges something specific that I’ve done and lets me know she appreciates the work and she appreciates me. I put those notes on my computer monitor and they hang there until they lose the “sticky.” They aren’t hidden, but I doubt anybody (other than me) ever sees them. The messages are just between us, and that’s part of what makes it awesome. I see them every day when I start my computer, and they remind me that I’m genuinely appreciated.
Recognition doesn’t have to be formal or come with some sort of trophy, and you don’t always have the budget to reward people in a tangible way. It would be better to immediately acknowledge somebody’s work with a handwritten note than to plan some formal plaque that will take a month to get finished and could fall to the wayside in the light of other priorities. Better yet – do BOTH. If a handwritten note doesn’t seem very special, read this Washington Post article about President George Bush’s famous handwritten notes and how they built bridges. Recognition can actually be that simple.
In this article on one of the blogs I follow, there are eight suggestions for becoming a better leader. Number 7 is about feedback, and number 8 is about praise/recognition. Check it out.
Here’s the key: get to know your people and how they LIKE to be recognized. Some people don’t like public acknowledgement – they are mortified with embarrassment and awkwardness. Those people would prefer what my supervisor does with handwritten notes. You can simply ask each person in a one-on-one meeting, “How do you prefer to be recognized?” Remember, feedback delayed is feedback denied, and recognition is a form of feedback. Always recognize your people. What do you think? Comment below.