Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fixing a Broken Team - The Radical Value of True Recognition

I cannot overstress this element of team repair.  True Recognition has serious benefits for everyone on your team, for your organization, and for you!
Recognition is risky business.  Some leaders believe that people will stop performing if they're recognized.  Some leaders are fearful of recognition ... here are a few reasons:
  1. Show favoritism and you're done.  Your recognition will be shown for what it is: you take care of people you like, and you don't take care of people you don't like.
  2. Recognize people for non-performance and you will lose credibility.  Your recognition will look more like a pep rally than a business strategy.
  3. Recognize people inappropriately and it can backfire.  In other words, some people simply do not want public recognition, but they won't mind a gift certificate for dinner. 
With all these risks ... some managers can become wary, cautious, and risk-averse ... and in the process do nothing! Don't fall prey to doing nothing.  That's the easy way out.
When people know they’re valued for their legitimate accomplishments, and they know the organization acknowledges what they’ve done, meaning has been added to their lives.  Think about it: most people will spend their entire work lives wondering if they mattered.  You can change that, if only for a moment.
A few years ago, a Vice-President walked over to my desk and shook my hand, congratulating me on a successful project.  I believed I was immune to recognition.  I thought it wouldn't matter to me ... but it did. 
If you want to repair a broken team, do not overlook this key element of motivation.  You don't need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars: you need to carefully articulate the value of a person's contribution.  Then watch the energy flow.

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