Consistency with recognition requires a bit of focus and adherence to following the same principles and practices in expressing recognition, not to mention utilizing tools like online programs to help recognize others. But how on earth does one get more consistent?
Take a look at these things to think about when you want to build greater consistency in recognition giving.
Set some recognition goals. The key to consistency is setting specific, actionable goals and then working every day on achieving them. You can do this by following a simple process that you will follow weekly, monthly or quarterly.
For example, your goals might look like these:
Week #1: Make a note of the positive behaviors you see or hear about each day.
Week #2: Send an eCard to thank, congratulate or praise someone each day.
Week #3: Learn and use the Two-Part Specificity Rule®* with each recognition you give.
Week #4: Come prepared to thank or honor a colleague at your weekly staff meeting.
There are significant benefits from being consistent. First, it becomes so much easier to recognize people. Second, you see the smiles and light shine in their eyes after you've praised or recognized them. Third, regularly recognized people will love to work for your organization and continue to feel appreciated by the effort they put in.
Ask yourself, why do you want to be consistent? Being purpose-driven will go a long way in motivating you to get out there and give more meaningful and effective recognition. Look at the difference it makes to people when you say how proud you are of them or thank them for their help.
Where do you need to improve? Start by figuring out how you can be consistent with recognition. Plan out what you want to do, what you need to learn, the resources or guidance you need and how you will practice these new skills.
Only do what you are capable of doing. You can only do so much in a day or a given week. Pick one thing or area where you want to expand upon with your recognition giving. Don't set up unrealistic expectations to improving all aspects.
Schedule your recognition giving. If you cannot plan to recognize people, you will plan to fail giving recognition. As the late Stephen R. Covey once said, "Don't prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities." When you make recognition a priority, you will schedule it in. Then, by becoming more adept at regularly recognizing and praising people, you'll be ready for the spontaneous moments.
Fight the negative self-talk with positive comeback statements. Ignore the negative voice in your head that says you are no good at giving recognition. Learn to provide recognition even when you don't feel like doing it. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will become.
Get back up again if you fail with giving recognition. Don't beat yourself up if you miss a day with your recognition goal and activities. It happens to the best of us. Take a look at your schedule and be sure to fit in a few extra giving moments to get back on track.
It takes lots of little things to become consistent. Like the personal interaction - saying good morning to people you run into. Or asking how a person is doing and listening to their response. And it is learning each employee's proper or preferred name and using it when greeting them. Be sure to ask about their family and life at home. Your goal is to get your team to say how much they appreciate the recognition they receive from you - giving you the confidence that your approach is working.
Get help from some buddies for accountability. To be consistent with recognition giving, you will need some accountability. Try to create a 3-person buddy group. The ideas for this accountability are so you are not just accountable to yourself. Having three people makes a check and balance, whereas only two can cause one to be soft on feedback.
What can you do each day so you will become a better recognition giver? Giving recognition even just once in a day is better than not recognizing anyone at all. Sometimes it is the daily routine activities we do each day that add up. It is thinking about others and their contributions every day and giving recognition that makes you a consistent recognition giver.
* The Two-Part Specificity Rule of Recognition: I believe we all have gotten lazy in using phrases like "good job" or "well done," which have only a neutral connotation. In training managers to become more proficient at recognizing employees, I highly recommend using a two-part specificity rule for expressing recognition. The first part describes the positive behavior or action of the employee. The second part indicates the impact that the employee had. For example: "Thanks for getting me that repot ahead of time. I now have extra time to create an awesome presentation for the executive team on next year's budget."