Making Recognition More Common in the Workplace by Tanveer Naseer
By: Tanveer Naseer, business coach and writer
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Lack of Recognition in the Workplace
Recognition. It’s something we all seek in our workplaces and yet, it’s the kind of feedback so many of us find noticeably absent in our interactions with those who lead our organizations.
There have been numerous studies that show how making time to recognize the contributions of others helps to create both a positive environment and a more productive workforce. So why then are there so many employees who feel under-appreciated or under-valued by their organization’s leadership? To answer this question, we need to examine two aspects which are behind this quandary.
The first part of the problem is the misguided notion among leaders that their employees already know how good a job they’re doing and as such, there’s no need to point out the obvious to them. However, the problem with such thinking is that it’s self-centric, in that the leader’s focus is only on their own perceptions, as opposed to taking into consideration how their team members perceive the situation.
This leads to the second part of the problem over why there’s this lack of genuine recognition in the workplace. In cases where recognition efforts are made, leaders tend to concentrate on how offering such feedback benefits the company’s image, rather than as a gesture of appreciation or acknowledgement for the contributions of their team members. Indeed, for many leaders, providing recognition to their team is something that is addressed only in annual performance reviews or through formalized processes like “employee of the month” programs. As most employees can attest, it’s a rare if unheard of practice to have leaders providing spur of the moment recognition for their efforts.
So how then can leaders address these two problems which are responsible for this lack of recognition in the workplace?
What Leaders Can Do
The first thing is to appreciate the difference between what employees know about their contributions and what they hear from their leaders. Recognizing the work of your employees is not meant to inform them of the value of their contributions. Instead, it should be done to validate what they already know about their efforts.
Second, to reap the benefits that come from offering recognition to your employees, it’s important to understand that such offerings need to be real and honest, instead of something that is elaborately designed or provided after much deliberation. For recognition to feel genuine, leaders need to offer it spontaneously, in natural conversations as opposed to being restricted to structured, predefined processes or discussions.
This way, employees will understand that such praise is coming without strings or ulterior motives. Also, offering this feedback right away will help to demonstrate to your employees which types of contributions are most valued by your organization, ensuring that their efforts in the future remain aligned with the team’s objectives.
While it’s important for leaders to provide their team members with the necessary tools and resources to do their jobs, it’s equally critical that leaders also make the effort to recognize the contributions their team makes if they are to truly succeed in reaching your organization’s shared goals.
|Tanveer Naseer is a business coach who works with small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop new strategies for growth and development that keeps the focus on what makes them passionate about their business.
Thanks to his diverse experiences working in the scientific and business worlds, he has developed a keen understanding of leadership and work practices, if not also a novel approach to taking on new challenges or situations. You can read more of his writings on leadership and workplace interactions on his blog at TanveerNaseer.com. You can also follow him on Twitter – @TanveerNaseer.