What Do You Do When You're Recognized?
Posted by Roy Saunderson on Thu, Mar 11, 2021 @ 11:00 AM

Employees typically share recognition through various methods such as face-to-face, through video, via email or eCard, a handwritten note card, a text or through their organization's recognition programs.

While recognition has a positive effect on morale, engagement and retention, many employees are uncomfortable being recognized. For some, they don't like being in the spotlight, for others they don't know how to react. Are you one of them?

Simplest Recognition Comment

The best advice we can give to people on responding to someone who has just given you praise or recognition is to simply say, "thank you!" Not overly complicated and it shows you're appreciative. The last thing you want to do is say nothing, which could cause the recognition giver not to want to give further praise to you, or anyone else!

Prepare Positive Responses

You've probably been present when others have received feedback, and you probably heard comments like, "Oh, it was nothing," or "Don't mention it," or the classic, "I was just doing my job."

While these responses are used out of modesty, stop to think about the implications it might have on the person giving you the recognition. When you say not to mention the recognition someone has given to you; it almost dismisses their good intentions. And the famous, I was just doing my job, shows a low regard for the splendid work you did if someone thought you merited recognition.

Instead, prepare some comebacks for when people recognize you. And if you lead a team who may feel similar, share with them and encourage your employees to do the same thing. 

Think about lines like:

  • "Thank you. I worked hard on that project and put my best ideas forward."
  • "Thank you for noticing. I appreciate your positive feedback."
  • "You can sometimes think you are just going about your job. Your recognition makes me realize I am doing a lot more. Thank you."

Five Principles for Receiving Recognition

Even though people can have such a hard time accepting recognition, we have five guiding principles should you get stuck. 

1. Take a deep breath and mentally accept it. Learn to receive all recognition positively. Battle out of your mind any negative thoughts that would discount a person's recognition of your actions. Breathe, pause, and accept the praise.

2. Always thank a person for recognizing you. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and recognize someone for their contributions. No matter what you think of the recognition, thank the giver right away.

3. Reflect on the behaviors that were recognized. Take a moment to think about what the other person is recognizing. Accept the value they have placed on your work and who you are.

4. Acknowledge what the other person sees. Say something that agrees with and supports the expression of recognition from the individual, even if you find it hard to do. Tell them you are grateful for their words that they are causing you to see things better.

5. Tell them what you appreciate about their recognition. Recognizing something is to rethink the value and importance of some essential or positive action and they say or do something about it. As you receive recognition, tell the other person how their words have caused you to think differently about their actions and work.

Accepting recognition doesn't come naturally to many people, so learning to adjust your thinking is the first step. Your initial instinct will be to reject the praise and undervalue the task or job you completed. However, it would be best to acknowledge that the person giving the recognition put considerable thought into it. Allowing yourself to accept the credit will be benefit everyone involved in many ways. You'll feel confident in the work you did and become appreciative that someone else saw the effort you put in. Your coworker will value your response and feel compelled to give recognition to someone else. And you know what, you'll also want to provide recognition to someone else! It's the circle of providing recognition.

Topics: employee recognition

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