In this Is This Mic On? We tackle the question of, “How do I create a culture of recognition?” Read on to hear what SNP had to say about getting into the details, knowing your team, and sharing at any level.
We ended 2022 strong despite all odds. We had our offsites and planning meetings and committed to new actions. But it’s January now and the party’s over. It feels like there’s a lot of work ahead. I want to keep the celebration going and recognition leaves everyone feeling good, but what if there aren’t enough things to recognize? The big projects are kicking off and we’re getting into the thick of it. How do I keep a culture of recognition going all year round to help make our lofty goals stick and keep my team motivated? Also, what can I do to recognize folks without just using my words?
Recognition is rad
How do you create a culture of recognition? Dear Rad…
Yes, the start of a new year means the party is over. But this is when the follow through on those commitments, both to the work and each other, matters the most. This is the time when you set the tone for the year ahead and cement the foundation for a culture of recognition. And it all begins on an individual level. As these projects lift off the ground, and successes big and small are realized, it’s easy to reflect upon them as a group or a delivery team. But go deeper. Dig into the details. What exactly did someone or some people do to reach the achievement? Citing specific examples makes the recognition more tangible to the person receiving it while showcasing their work can inspire and motivate a broader organization.
Keep It Personal
A culture of recognition is rooted in everyone’s desire to be seen (and heard). But! Not everyone wants to be recognized the same way. Know your audience. Some people want to see their name in glittering lights like on Broadway. A public shoutout, either written or in video format, in a communication channel or staff meeting is excellent. Meanwhile, there are others who would be positively mortified if the spotlight spun toward them. Sure, it feels great to be seen as the benevolent leader casting accolades upon someone for all to hear, but the person on the receiving end might much rather get a more private form of recognition. A handwritten letter, for example, could be a great way to communicate to that person that they did a job well. Don’t pass up or overthink moments to provide in-the-moment feedback as well. If there is an opportunity to shoot a quick email, take the time. Even a short, “great work!” with brief context explaining why can go a long way in boosting the mood of the person clicking through their inbox.
Know your power
As a leader, be cognizant of the power of your voice. This requires you to understand when it is needed, and when it is not. Recognition of good work should absolutely be acknowledged by those in leadership, but it can be expressed by others. In some cases, the words of affirmation may carry even more weight if you have another team member vocalize them. This inspires more peer-to-peer recognition, strengthening the culture you are responsible for leading.
Creating a culture of recognition comes from incremental but consistent changes. Click here for suggestions on how to do the work, from the book How to Do the Work by Dr. Nicole LePera