It is sad but true that many people, senior as well as junior, go through their working lives without receiving any kind of personal appreciation or recognition. Whenever I speak with leaders of teams of professionals it is clear that they are perfectly well aware of the importance of positive feedback but in many cases somehow fail to get round to providing it to their people. Sometimes they seem to be too preoccupied with other things. Some people feel embarrassed about expressing appreciation. Others worry that it is seen as false or insincere.
There are some people, apparently very self-assured, who make it clear that they do not need positive feedback from colleagues. They may find that the feedback that they get from clients is sufficient for their needs. In other cases they claim to know when they have done a good job and that is sufficient satisfaction. However, I suspect that these people are very much the exceptions to the general rule.
Here are some tips for giving recognition:
- Don’t ‘debase the coinage’ by giving recognition as a matter of routine or when it is not deserved.
- Give recognition for high-quality service to clients; for meeting very tight deadlines; for initiatives taken; for helping colleagues; for accomplishing more than is promised; for learning new skills; for contributions that go beyond normal work activities; and for exceeding targets.
- Give authentic praise that is specific rather than general and is supported with the reasons why you are pleased.
- Give thanks for particular contributions with reasons.
- Let senior colleagues know about exceptional accomplishments by individuals or groups within your team.
- If your firm has a house magazine arrange for deserving team members and their achievements to be featured.
- Celebrate major team successes, for instance by going out for dinner together.
- Circulate regular reports of team achievements including feedback from clients; successful financial performance; individual accomplishments; new clients engaged; lessons learnt; and major new initiatives.
- . Be sensitive to the type of recognition with which each of your team members is comfortable and behave accordingly. For example, some people respond well to receiving praise or thanks in front of colleagues whilst others much prefer a quiet word.
Finally, remember to give recognition and appreciation to the support people in the team for their particular accomplishments as well as to the professionals. And include them in the celebrations of team successes.