Friday, April 13, 2012

The Importance of Positive Recognition

Question for you: Do you notice the connection between recognition and behavior?

When a person is recognized, they will respond negative or positively.

Two examples of recognition:
  • Please clean up the kitchen - you’re such a pig, you never clean up after yourself. Make sure you leave it clean this time! 
  • Please clean up the kitchen - you’re such a great cleaner. The kitchen looks so good after you have cleaned it!
How does each recognition example motivate you?

If it is positive behavior you desire it makes since to focus on and consistently recognize positive behavior.

When we see our peers or co-workers getting recognition we naturally seek the recognition and look for ways to get recognized. However, if recognition isn’t positive people will not be motivated through this method.

Recognition is a very strong motivational tool – but beware it can be a double edge sword. One of our readers experienced this just last week:

“Without warning I wanted to recognize the positive behaviors of the less vocal and less active young people during a group presentation. Without them knowing I jotted down the names of people that were walking around the room, texting and talking during the presentation.

Once the presentation was over, I asked those whose names I had written on my list to stand up - imagine their surprise when I asked them to step aside so the people who were left sitting in the room could be recognized for their good behavior.  Those I asked to stand up thought they were going to be recognized. I had completely overlooked  recognition to the group as a whole by thanking them for being there.

In skipping that step I inadvertently gave negative recognition to the group that I asked to step aside - It was like tossing fuel on a fire. Ouch! Those on the list I called out saw me as not so kind.  Luckily the team was a forgiving group and after I shared my intentions they understood my goal of recognizing positive recognition.”
Our reader learned how powerful recognition is and that in public recognition it is vital to RECOGNIZE EVERYONE present positively before recognizing the few chosen for their outstanding behaviors. This will build positive relationships and positive behaviors for the WHOLE group present, including the presenter. 

For more information on improving your employee recognition, visit

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