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Recognition: A Picture is Not Enough

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As I scroll through LinkedIn I see lots of pictures of people being recognized for joining a team, some accomplishment, or just being them. Recognition is great and I hope you are recognizing the people on your teams. Recognition is an important part of creating the motivational environment that will take your team to high levels of success.

But, recognition isn’t just splashing a picture on social media. That’s nice, but by itself it is very temporary, somewhat superficial, and only part of the equation. Your team members must feel they are genuinely appreciated by both the boss and the rest of the team. Here are some ideas.

• Know your team members. Be clear about their strengths, their challenges, what they bring to the team, and how you can help them become even better. One of the best ways to recognize people is to identify and provide opportunities for their growth and advancement. That means you need to know what opportunities to watch for. All the photos and social media likes pale in significance to the knowledge that the boss genuinely appreciates your value to the team and is looking out for your future.

• Make sure recognition is meaningful and appropriate. Recognize your team members for what they have done, when they do it. I’m not a big fan of the “of the month” type programs. Too often I’ve seen them turn into “whose turn is it.”
• Be timely. Not every accomplishment requires formal awards banquets and brass bands. Sometimes a simple, “Well done, thank you,” has more meaning and impact.

• Keep a record. You’ve probably been coached to document problems. You should. But it’s just as important to keep records when people do good things. When coaching or writing performance evaluations refer to your records. It’s a special kind of recognition when the boss can refer back to something good that happened 6 months ago.

By all means, keep posting those pictures of your terrific team. Just make sure your recognition efforts go beyond social media.

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