SuperSTAR Performance: Recognition

 In Business Success, Leadership Development

Today, I will cover the 6th of 9 leadership strategies that we’ve identified as critical components of a SuperSTAR Leader. The previous five can be found here [Goals & Planning, Training, Communicate, Coaching, Leadership Flexibility]. Just to reiterate, we have found that SuperSTAR leaders don’t master just one of these strategies, but rather, they become proficient in all of them. These strategies work together.

The 6th strategy is RECOGNITION.
Gallup has done some incredible research on how recognition and results go hand in hand. According to their research, employees who said they were recognized in the last week at work, tended to perform better the following week. To make it personal- take a second to consider these scenarios:

You work for manager A. In a genuine manner, your manager seems to appreciate and acknowledge your hard work. You have learned, over time, that when you do things, you will get acknowledged. It’s an easy illustration of the way conditioning works (consider Pavlov’s dog experiment). Now, compare that simple scenario to working for manager B. Rarely, if ever, does manager B seem to care when you do things well; in fact, you’re fairly convinced that only your failures and mistakes catch her attention. Who would you choose to be your manager? Easy, right? Manager A seems to be the obvious choice.

So, how is it that something so simple could be forgotten by most managers? The truth is that most managers believe that it makes sense to recognize their employees – but most managers either don’t make the time to do this, or they feel uncomfortable doing it. Yet, there is a solution that solves both of these problems: PLAN to RECOGNIZE. The more you can make recognition a part of your regular routine, the less uncomfortable & forced it will feel. Recognition can be formal or informal, both matter. Do what makes sense for you and your employees. In The SuperSTAR Leadership Model, we differentiate between the two types of recognition. But, for purposes of this post, here are five simple suggestions as to how you can carve this priority into your calendar.

  1. Put reminders in your planner around key projects or dates that will require some form of recognition.
  2. Create competitions around major projects, so that there’s a healthy level of competitive spirit generated that naturally produces opportunities for recognition.
  3. Make it a goal to recognize each employee on your team at least once during the workweek.
  4. Establish a small budget at work that allows you the flexibility and freedom to buy a team member coffee or take a team member to lunch when he/she produces stellar results. Not only will your employees appreciate the kind gesture, but also it will give you one-on-one time to connect with your employees outside of the office.
  5. Start team meetings with a five-minute “recognition rally” that allows team members to recognize one another for hard work or exceptional work done between team members. This will help to make recognition a natural characteristic of your team’s culture.

Above all, the key to recognition is that it’s GENUINE and CONSISTENT. If it happens once in a blue moon, that won’t be enough to elicit the possible positive responses from your employees. And if it’s not sincere, your employees will know. So, do it right and do it often to make a difference.

Two of my favorites quotes on this topic inspire the two questions I will leave you to answer. “A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” This anonymous quote leads me to ask you…Are you willing and able to recognize others in the small things, as much as you are in the big things? And lastly, as Stephen R. Covey so brilliantly reminds, “You have to water the flowers you want to grow.” So, which flowers have you been neglecting that need to be tended?

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