Some of the most motivational techniques you can use are actually quite simple. Giving recognition is one of these. Which makes it all the more curious that many managers and leaders miss it when they want to motivate the staff.
When you think back over your career, how many bosses have you had? How many of them were truly rewarding to work for? Most people find that the first number significantly exceeds the second!
The bosses that stand out because they are great to work with share several characteristics. And high up on the list is that they genuinely appreciate their staff. So recognition naturally follows.
Here are 10 ways you can give recognition to your people:
1. Give praise where it is deserved
When a job is done well, acknowledge it. Be sincere – there is no need for gushing excesses. Be consistent because if you appear to have favourites, it soon backfires.
2. Say Thank You
Some bosses who are totally polite in social circles seem to forget this simple term of recognition in the workplace. Because of its relative rarity, a ‘thank you’ still has the ability to surprise.
3. Use the power of the written word
This is not about a formal review process but an opportunity to write a note or brief letter to an individual in recognition of work done or qualities deployed. Sometimes these letters are so treasured that they are kept for years afterwards.
4. Give awards
A surprise reward can be a fantastic motivator. Awards and prizes do not have to be monetary – be creative. You could add a degree of publicity – the company magazine or intranet perhaps. You could even use the local media if appropriate.
Perhaps the most powerful means of recognition – use it well. Give sufficient time to really listen and the investment will be paid back many times over. There are 2 main reasons: first that you gain valuable feedback which can inform future interaction and, secondly, paying attention through listening actually increases the quality of your team member’s thinking and hence their performance.
6. Invite their suggestions
Whether in meetings, email or one-to-one sessions, make it clear that their contributions are welcome, even expected. Signal that you respect their ideas and insights on the tasks and projects in hand, and on the future working of the team. Make sure you respond to the suggestions once they are made.
7. Challenge them
Stretch your team members because you have faith in their abilities. Ideally, allocate work so that the level of challenge is just beyond their current comfortable skill level but not so far that it creates anxiety and stress. Watch for feedback and make adjustments as necessary.
8. Encourage their career development
Discuss their hopes and aspirations. Give encouragement through support and mentoring while making sure they take responsibility for their advancement. You can open doors but they need to walk through, not you on their behalf.
9. Be sensitive to their personal circumstances
Tune in to what is going on – things like family sickness, transport problems, personal health. Interacting on this level shows you recognize them as complete human beings rather than just a unit of human resource.
10. Respect their values
If they hold something dear, then you can respect it without necessarily having to agree with them. For example, strong views on green politics, religion or diet all go here. Some organizations cover this area in a diversity policy.
You can experiment with all 10 of these tips and find those that are particularly powerful in your situation. By your actions you can ignite the motivation in your people.