Not long ago one of us spoke to a group of managers from a water delivery company in Las Vegas. After, a GM from one of the locations approached us and said that when his people hit a safety goal—making so many deliveries without accident or injury—they get to be boss for the day, sit in the air-conditioned office and answer the phone. Meanwhile, this leader makes deliveries for them. And in Las Vegas, when you make deliveries in 110-degree heat, that means a lot.
Unfortunately, these managers efforts to appreciating his employees’ efforts are rare. Despite the overwhelming evidence that recognition creates more productive, profitable teams, we meet managers weekly with a bevy of excuses for why it won’t work for them. They believe they don’t have time to recognize, or they are afraid of creating favorites on their teams, or they simply don’t know where to start.
Let us briefly address just three myths we hear a lot, beginning with a common phobia to recognition: That too much will spoil my employees.
“It’ll lose meaning if I recognize too much.”
“I don’t have the time.”
“My people get recognition every two weeks in their paychecks.”
Great Leaders Recognize
The great leaders we meet with have learned to rise above their collective phobias about recognition and are building terrific cultures where people come, stay and contribute because they feel valued and appreciated. Some of these effective managers acknowledge that it isn’t always easy to recognize; others admit they have made mistakes along the way. But they stick with it. And because of that persistence, they have seen real business results.