Giving Recognition to Others

My boss subscribes to a Leadership Lessons email from Walk the Talk, and occasionally he forwards them to us. This one caught my attention.

It’s the Top 10 Excuses for Not Giving Recognition, taken from “180 Ways to Walk the Recognition Talk”.

  1. “I don’t know how.”
    No doubt this can be an honest and valid concern. Most folks never receive any type of training on giving recognition. But, it is a skill that can be learned.
  2. “I don’t have time.”
    For sure, most of us have more stuff to do than time to do it in. But somehow we all manage to do the things that are really important to us. Maybe, you just haven’t made recognition high enough of a priority. Besides, how much time does it take to say, “Thank you”?
  3. “People don’t care about it all that much.”
    Yeah, right! Okay, if you look hard enough, maybe you can find one or two people who couldn’t give a flip about being recognized. But for every person like that, there are hundreds who like being stroked for their efforts and contributions. Play the odds.
  4. “It’s not MY job!”
    Think that giving recognition is strictly a top-down thing that only bosses are responsible for? THINK AGAIN! It’s one of the biggest reasons why recognition doesn’t happen as often as it could. Fact is, supporting an environment in which people are acknowledged and truly appreciated is everyone’s job.
  5. “I don’t believe in rewarding people for just doing their jobs!”
    Me neither! A “reward” is something special and should be reserved for special achievement. But recognition is an acknowledgement, a favorable notice, and a reinforcement that increases the likelihood that people will keep doing their jobs…and making work that much easier for you!
  6. “It becomes meaningless if done too much!”
    Maybe so, but most organizations have a looooooong way to go before the meter reads “Too Much Recognition Happening Here.” Actually, it’s insincerity rather than quantity that tends to devalue recognition.
  7. “I’m very limited in what I can do.”
    Chances are that you’re limited mostly by untapped imagination. Okay, so you don’t control or even have access to money and formal award programs. Those only represent the tip of the recognition iceberg, anyway. Get creative!
  8. “Sometimes it’s awkward and uncomfortable.”
    So was the first time you drove a stick shift! But the more you did it, the easier it got (hopefully). And the more you liked doing it! If you’re uncomfortable with recognition, there’s a good chance you’re not doing it enough. Go forth and PRACTICE!
  9. “People will think they’ve ‘made it’ and stop working hard.”
    NOT! Think about it: Do you slow down when others show appreciation for your contributions? Enough said on this one.
  10. “I don’t get it. Why should I give it?”
    Because it’s the right thing to do! You know how it feels to have your efforts and achievements overlooked. You know how it feels to be taken for granted. It stinks! Don’t let one wrong become your rationale for doing another.

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My recognition story… Quite a few years ago, I sat in on an excellent technical presentation at work.  I had recently read that you should praise people in front of their boss, so I emailed Bill complimenting him and cc’d his boss.  Several years later, he did the same to me.  It took me a few minutes to remember that I had done the same to him years earlier.  Kind of cool.

Any great recognition stories out there? Feel free to share.


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