Give Recognition and Praise Every 7 Days
Lead Coach and Facilitator at Choose Leadership | Working with Purpose Driven Leaders and Organisations
Happy Sad Surprised Nonplussed faces

So I am in my thrice weekly morning boot camp. I’m moving to the last station in the circuit – the ski machine. My backside is starting to drag. It’s been a long session. And just as we were about to start, the song on the speaker switches from a Run DMC track to Gonna Fly Now – the theme from Rocky.

And something funny happens.

As corny as it may sound, we start pushing ourselves a little bit more, running up the steps in our own little bit of Philadelphia, here in Donegal. Squeezing out the last 2 minutes with intensity, on whatever exercise station we are at.

And at the finish, we are greeted by our instructor’s grin and individual recognition of the effort we have put in. “Great form today Declan.” “Awesome effort Emer.” “You really powered through Sinead.” “Way to close it out Karen.” Especially since it was a such a gruelling session, we all leave the gym a little taller and a little bit more motivated.

Recognition and praise is like gold. It works even though I don’t think I need it. I go to the gym for myself. I try and eat clean and focus on my recovery and sleep for my own sake. I’d go to the gym even if no one else was there. Yet that “well done”, that positive feedback after a correction, a well timed “yeah, that’s it, just like that.” really motivates and fuels my fire.

We know as managers and leaders how feedback works. The famous Gallup research which produced the “12 Questions” confirms it in the context of how to create a motivating environment. One of the questions it asked survey participants was “In the last 7 days, have I received recognition or praise for good work?”

What would the people you lead answer?

Invariably, managers who explore this research in management  development programmes respond that they feel that 7 days may be a little bit frequent. “Maybe it would be better done fortnightly? Monthly? Quarterly? Every 6 months? Yearly?” they ask.

No, every 7 days.

  • At a minimum, every 7 days you need to catch your people doing something right.
  • And you need to be authentic.
  • And you need to be genuine.

What you recognise or praise is always person specific. And here’s the secret. The more recognition and praise you give, the more credibility you generate and the deeper the psychological safety others experience around you. That allows you to have the more challenging conversations with candour and ease, if or when they arise.

Here’s a simple heuristic:

Is there anyone in your team in imminent danger of receiving excessive recognition and praise?

If no, then you have scope to dial it up.

Try it – see what happens.

For leadership coaching and developement, get in touch

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