Why Do We Suck at Giving Recognition?

Gratitude Management Respect


Key Point: Most of us, according to research on the topic, aren’t great at effectively and consistently giving recognition to one another. J.D. Power, the well-known research firm, highlights that workers rate the importance of recognition as a key consideration for being valued and engaged, (see graph below). Yet the best behavior practice (according to Achievers), is when someone consciously and specifically gives acknowledgment four times a month. It seems somewhat underwhelming that voicing appreciation for others once a week leads the way. I believe we can do better.

I actually did have a boss who warned me against giving too much recognition. “You will make them soft,” he said. “Keep ’em on their toes.” But, I’ve yet to read the following headline in the Wall Street Journal, “Firm Fails Because of too Much Recognition.” Ask yourself the question, would you try less and get lazy if you received recognition?

Character Move:

  1. Commit to becoming a recognition pace setter. Be very specific about what you’re appreciating. Acknowledge the behavior, attitude and results you’re coaching.
  2. Connect recognition to the results you are expecting. Process recognition relates to behavior you know will ultimately lead to the desired results. The same can be said for attitude.
  3. Make consistent and regular recognition a habit. Someone who recognizes others with confidence knows what they are looking for. They have to be good observers and care. 
  4. Remember that the ultimate beneficiary of recognition is you. Why? Because recognizing helps people grow and develop. It is more than just a feel good exercise. It is about giving, so that others may too. Can you give recognition at least once a week? 

Recognize more in the Triangle,