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The Importance of Recognition Done Right

Submitted by  on March 21st, 2011

Recognize This: How you praise is as important as when.

I follow a lot of blogs in the HR and leadership space, as I’m sure you do, too. One I recently started enjoying is Respectful Workplace. A post at the end of last year has resonated so strongly with me, I must share it with you. In “The Power of Recognition,” Erica Pinsky wrote:

“Rather it is the daily practice of recognition – the thank you’s, great job, we couldn’t have gotten here without your input, you are a valued member of this team – that inspire many of us to want to continue making an effort. Let’s face it, whatever our job, task or profession, we want to know that what we are doing matters. We all want to know that others appreciate the effort we make. And unless someone is doing that on a regular basis, chances are we won’t feel valued or appreciated, which often translates to a lack of motivation and the inevitable drop in productivity.

Erica’s covered all the basics here – frequency, sincerity, timeliness – and the strong link between recognition, performance and productivity.

Wally Bock, author of the excellent Three Star Leadership blog, made a similar case, but also highlighting what should not be praised:

I do not praise thee for capacity. You do not merit praise for being smart or talented or any other gift you have received without merit or effort on your part.”

That may seem counter-intuitive, but your smarts, talents and other gifts are what you brought to the table in the first place. It’s how you choose to use those talents that merits praise and appreciation.

What do you think? Did Erica and Wally get it right? Is there anything else that should not be praised that many assume should?

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