Why Leaders Fail To Truly Recognize Their Teams
We know that recognition is important.
We should know that recognizing our teams is one of the highest contributors to performance.
So, why are so many leaders not doing it?
It’s not because they forget.
It’s not because they are too busy.
It’s because they fail to recognize THEMSELVES first.
How can we expect to recognize the efforts, contributions and behaviours in other people if we can’t see our own gifts and strengths?
If we don’t take the time to celebrate our successes, intentions and efforts, we aren’t likely to be able to hold that space for others.
Great leadership starts with self-love.
Great leadership starts with self-recognition.
Only once we can give that to ourselves, can we give that to our team.
P.S Leadership can feel lonely sometimes, and I see a lot of leaders, craving recognition from their colleagues. Reach out to an amazing leader today and send them a note of appreciation.
When you’ve taken some time to recognize yourself as a leader, here are some ways that you can start to recognize your team:
THE IMPORTANCE OF RECOGNITION
Recognition is one of the top contributors to performance on any team, so taking time to recognize your team members remotely will not only increase their performance, but when we praise their efforts in addition to the results they produce, we increase the likelihood of them replicating the same effort, if not more, with another task. Recognition can be given as a result of effort, performance, mindset and values.
Issues can arise when recognition isn’t part of a team’s culture. Over time, a lack of recognition can wear people down, emotionally and mentally impacting them and their motivations, and can lead to burnout. Frederick Herzberg is known for his dual-factor, motivation-hygiene theory, which states that there are certain common characteristics that are associated with workplace satisfaction and dissatisfaction (Herzberg et. al., 1963). Herzberg found that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not on a continuum with one increasing as the other diminishes but are instead independent of each other, meaning that we need to address dissatisfaction issues and promote areas of satisfaction at the same time.
Motivation factors (satisfaction characteristics) include challenging work, recognition for one’s achievements, responsibility, the opportunity to do something meaningful, involvement in decision making, and a sense of importance to the organization. On the other hand, hygiene factors (dissatisfaction characteristics) include salary. work conditions, company policy and administration, supervision, working relationships, status and security.
When it comes to recognition specifically, it has a major impact on the motivations of our team members and also helps us reduce burnout. Research shows that a lack of recognition and rewards is strongly correlated to burnout (Ordever, 2019).
TYPES OF RECOGNITION
For leaders to recognize their remote teams in a meaningful way, they must seek to understand what type of recognition each team member prefers. Do you know what kind of recognition your team prefers? Not everyone likes a reward given in front of their peers. Not everyone is motivated by monetary rewards. Here is a list of the most common ways to recognize individuals and teams:
- Structured recognition: A more formal approach to recognition, such as employee awards
- Unstructured recognition: A more casual approach to recognition, such as a quick message or verbal acknowledgement
- Verbal vs. written appreciation: Verbal recognition compared to sending an email or a chat message.
These types of recognition can come from three main sources; the manager, the organization and peer-to-peer appreciation. Here are some examples of how to improve and promote these three sources of recognition remotely:
- Consistent organizational recognition strategies, like naming an employee of the month, can be a great way for people to be recognized by senior management.
- Simpler activities that surprise and delight team members, like an extra day off or even a free lunch on a Friday can help teams feel acknowledged and appreciated.
- More formal processes such as employee performance and salary reviews should be carried out on a consistent basis.
- Promoting recognition from senior management executives can really make a difference in an employee’s motivation levels.
- Celebrate milestones and work anniversaries. A simple message can be a quick and effective way to increase recognition.
- Recognize the effort your team members put into their work, not just the results their work generated.
- Be specific when sending recognition by describing the task or accomplishment in detail.
- Reflect on team recognition preferences like ‘Which of my team members prefer private recognition?’ ‘Which of my team members prefer public recognition?’
- Make recognition amongst team members more formal to help gamify this important habit and make it fun for the team.
- Consider nominating someone each week for a team recognition or even ending the week by sending one person a direct message describing how they’ve helped and what impact they’ve made during that week.
So how do we create a culture of recognition within our team? While these strategies are important to explore and try, the key really is to take the time. Recognition provides teams with so many benefits but it’s often the first thing that’s forgotten about when work environments become busy. Setting reminders and blocking off time for these moments of acknowledgment will ensure that this important part of team building doesn’t get forgotten.
Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you and your team:
1. Revive, Engage and Develop your remote/hybrid team (training for leaders and individual contributors) here. (70+ companies)
2. Let me build a customized training program for your remote and hybrid team needs here. (Booked out 3-6 weeks)
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