You’d better recognize

Parenting books highlight that positive praise works far better than negative criticism. The advice given is that, rather than criticizing your child each time they do something wrong, wait until they do something right and then praise the heck out of it.

It turns out this works pretty well with adults, too. And, positive praise and recognition is incredibly easy to do.

In our office, we have a recognition system where you can nominate coworkers for points, which are redeemable for prizes. It’s free to participate in the program, it takes about two minutes to complete a nomination, and everyone loves receiving it.

But, positive praise and recognition doesn’t need to be formal or costly. Here are some really simple ideas to get you started:

  1. Call them and say thank you. Revolutionary, right?
  2. Even better, call their manager and share the details of something they did to help you, and how much you enjoy working with them.
  3. Send them a quick text or email
  4. Get them a $5 gift card to the local coffee shop

The key is that you share the specific details of what mattered (not, “you’re awesome,” but “the extra time you spent preparing for the meeting was very evident, and it made a huge difference in getting the outcome we needed”) and that what you say is true and heart felt.

Recognition should be a regular part of your leadership practice. When’s the last time you reached out to recognize someone’s work?

On an aside, I need to stop being amazed by how much overlap there is between parenting advice and good leadership practices.

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