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Is Recognition Required for All?



There is a cultural conversation going on right now about whether or not it is appropriate to give all participants an award for anything they do. This conversation, while generally directed towards Millennial's, is not absent from the workplace. Which made us wonder, should all effort at work be rewarded? Or are there certain standards that must be met before an award is given? Here are our top considerations:


  • Showing Up Versus Standing Out: When everyone who shows up for work gets a reward, those rewards can very easily become meaningless to the recipients. While the intent is often to be inclusive, most employees are not seeking party favors. They want to see how their individual contribution fits into the larger mission of the organization. Leaders at any level can help others feel a sense of belonging and purpose in an organization by helping them see the impacts of their efforts. When the work of an individual is truly exceptional, a reward can be inspirational, not only to the recipient, but also to the workforce because they can see what excellence looks like as determined by their organization.

  • Determine Why Awards Are Given: Many organizations have built in rewards structures that result in one group or one individual constantly receiving recognition. This type of system is often referred to as "management by checklist" where you can "check the box" to say that you've done the recognition thing and move on. If that's the case in your organization, consider what you truly should be rewarding. Perhaps the system is sufficient as it stands, but there could be opportunity to make it more dynamic to foster good habits throughout the entire group.

  • Understanding Mindset: There often are a few "bright spots" or small groups in an organization that seem to be quite successful. Simply rewarding them for shining brightly is insufficient. Understanding the mindset behind what allows them to be successful is a finesse leadership skill that the best leaders embrace. Instead of simply saying, "well done," you might consider asking "what drives you to do what you do?"

Most management roles allow you to provide extrinsic rewards but great leaders are aware of the intrinsic rewards that drive individuals and teams alike. Listen in to our June 17, 2019 podcast (below) to hear some additional thoughts on effort and reward.

Want to know more about developing your leadership skills and business strategy? Subscribe to our Podcast, The Leadership Coaching Group, on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Also, follow us on Instagram @theleadershipcoachinggroup



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