Human beings are immensely complex, but they all crave recognition. It starts with your parents when you’re young. As you grow older, you crave it from teachers, coaches, friends, and significant others. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that employees want acknowledgment from their bosses. It’s the thing they desire most. Of course, many bosses struggle with how best to acknowledge achievements. Keep reading for a few pointers on how you can handle it.
1. Get Specific When Acknowledging Achievements
Just tossing off a “Good job” isn’t going to get it done in terms of acknowledging achievements. After all, anyone can say that without having a clue about what work was done. Think about an apology. What makes it’s effective? It’s not the saying “sorry” that does the work. It’s the person identifying what they did that makes it effective.
When you recognize your team, tell them specifically what you thought they did well. If they brought a project home under budget, you could say, “I’m very impressed with how you hit all the goals for this project and saved us money.”
2. Regular, But Inconsistent
When giving rewards as an acknowledgment, take care that you don’t always do the same thing. If you do, you run the risk of make the reward or recognition an expectation. If that happens, failure to deliver the expected reward becomes a point of contention.
Instead, aim for a steady stream of recognition delivered in different ways. If you settle on rewards, mix up the rewards given. You could hand out gift cards sometimes, give a paid day off sometimes, and take someone to lunch sometimes. The steady stream sates people’s need for recognition, while the different forms of rewards prevent anyone from forming incorrect expectations.
3. Don’t Wait to Show Appreciation
A lot of managers and supervisors wait until reviews roll around to hand out praise and recognition. It might feel like the appropriate time, but it’s not. At that point, most of a year may have gone by since someone completed the task for which you’re offering praise. It has a minimal impact.
Instead, offer praise as close to the actual action as is reasonable. The closer in time the praise happens, the more emotional resonance it will have for your employees.
Acknowledging team or employee achievements is mostly about setting up ground rules for yourself. Commit to acknowledging achievements on a regular basis. Keep it as close to the activity as you reasonably can in terms of time. Be regular with the acknowledgment, even while you’re irregular with the form rewards take.
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