Fast, Easy Ways to Give the Recognition Your Employees Crave

Are you leveraging the power of recognition? Giving your team members feedback about what they're doing right and celebrating their achievements are simple but powerful leadership tools. 

And employees definitely notice when leaders fall short in offering recognition. In a recent poll, "not recognizing employee achievement" ranked first on a list of communication issues that prevent effective leadership. Sixty-three percent of the survey respondents in the poll said it was a problem for leaders at their company. Why is that number so high? Sometimes high-performing leaders tend to go without a break from one project to the next, not stopping to celebrate what everyone has achieved.   It takes only a small time investment, though, to make regular recognition a part of your leadership style. Here are a few ideas to try.

Use meetings to share successes.

Start team meetings by asking people to share their recent successes or what's been going well. This doesn't take long, and it makes people feel good because they start noticing what they're actually getting done. Your employees can emulate this practice in meetings with their own direct reports, which helps build a culture of recognition throughout your company. Besides boosting everyone's energy, getting into this habit gives you more information and insight about what is working.

Debrief often.

You don't have to block out time for a meeting to give employees feedback and recognition. Pull your team member aside for a few minutes after a meeting to talk about what she did well while the specifics are still fresh in your mind. Having these conversations is easier if you build a little breathing room into your schedule. Avoid back-to-back meetings so that you'll have time for these informal but valuable feedback sessions. You'll reap the benefits because employees will better understand what you value and want to see more of.

Write it down.

One of my coaching clients blocks out a few minutes every Friday to send a note praising someone for actions that were effective or that made a difference that week. My client even gives himself reminders to rotate the notes among different groups of employees so that recognition gets spread around. Think about how valued and motivated you could make your own team members feel with thoughtful emails or handwritten notes like the ones my client sends.

Recognize yourself, too.

Start keeping a log of your own accomplishments, no matter how small. Be sure to jot down the impact of each one so you recognize the “so what.” High performers frequently overlook their own value, so having strategies to help you notice your own is important. Use this information to proactively share your successes in a tasteful way. And take a look periodically to see what themes you notice. Reviewing this information can be a pick-me-up, especially when you don’t have a boss who gives you much feedback.

This week, choose one or more of these strategies to recognize your team members for their achievements. Even if you can invest only a few minutes, you'll start to see the impact quickly. For more ideas for your team, check out "Building a Strong Team," part of our Leadership EDGE SeriesSM. In this quick read, you'll find more easy-to-implement strategies.