Estimated Lesson Time: 3 minutes
Ever since my wife created a recognition chart for our four-year-old daughter, we have seen a level of cooperation, good behavior, and achievement like never before. This chart is nothing more than a piece of paper that hangs on our bulletin board in our home. On the paper are several different categories in which, depending on performance, my wife draws a little face with a frown, half star, or full star. Whether we are 4 or 104, all of us appreciate and will strive for recognition.
Recognition is defined as attention or favorable notice. It is the act of showing appreciation, usually publicly. Recognition is most often given in the presence of one’s peers in the form of either sincere words of appreciation or some kind of award. Parents can give recognition to their children, teachers to their students, managers to their subordinates, and business owners to their customers or employees. Recognition is most often given by effective and respected leaders to those whom they lead, but can be given to anyone, by anyone.
Recognition can come in many forms: a certificate of achievement, a prize of some kind (candy bar, trip to Hawaii, new car), time off from work, being excused from a test, a gold star, free product or service, and much more. However, one of the simplest, least expensive, and most effective forms of recognition is often in the form of sincere words of appreciation. The majority of studies done on this topic have concluded that people are more motivated by recognition than by money alone. Recognition for one’s achievements or efforts gives that person greater self-confidence and fulfills one of the greatest human desires—the feeling of importance.
Giving recognition does more than just make the person receiving the recognition feel good, it has a significant impact on the person’s peers as well. For example, publicly recognizing just one employee will motivate the other employees, knowing that their work and achievements will be appreciated too. It gives them something to strive for.
Here are some suggestions for giving recognition to others:
- Hold award ceremonies. These are great to hold on a regular basis such as annually or bi-annually. They can be their own events, or they can be worked into existing events such as conferences, company picnics, etc.
- Send public notices of recognition. This can be in the form of a memo, e-mail, ad in a local or industry periodical, or any other form of print that will be read by others.
- Give public verbal recognition. A few, kind, spontaneous words spoken to a group can be a very effective form of recognition. This can be done in person, over a loud speaker, or over the telephone in a conference call.
- Be fair in your recognition. If you are going to recognize one person for doing x, y, and z, then be sure to recognize others in the same position who do x, y, and z.
- In small groups, recognize everybody. Giving recognition in a group where just a few members are not recognized, creates a very awkward situation. Think about how you can recognize each member for something unique and show that recognition. Result: everyone in the group will feel important and appreciated.
To the misfortune of many, recognition, like gratitude and appreciation, is often overlooked or ignored. Recognition has the power to both motivate and inspire people, and not just the receivers of the recognition. Leaders who give recognition are more respected and admired by those whom they lead. As Gerard C. Eakedale simply stated, “recognition is the greatest motivator.”
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)