The Power of Recognizing Good Work

One of our Big Six Leadership Principles® is “Do the right thing when no one is looking,” and it translates exceptionally well into the Level 5 ecosystem. When you develop that level of excellence in an organization, people want to do the right thing. More importantly, they’re willing to keep doing it even when nobody is around to watch them.

What do you do to create that environment where people are going to do the right thing?

The first step is to model accountability at your leadership level. No one will do the “right thing” if they don’t see that kind of action coming from the top.

Another very important step is to give recognition to good work when it happens. The power of recognizing good work can go a long way towards making your team members feel valued, and that they are contributing towards a greater goal. Doing the “right thing” will come naturally, because it will feel good to do what’s right.

This does not have to be a complicated process. One of the most powerful tools to reinforce positive behaviors is the handwritten note. It’s simple but tremendously effective. All it requires is about 20 seconds of your time to jot down a quick note onto a piece of personal stationery.

For instance, you could write, “Hi Kim, I really appreciate the way you delivered the presentation in our last staff meeting. I thought it was clear, concise, and very effective. Thanks for your good work!” Talk is cheap, but a note takes time and intention, and it can serve as a visual reminder for recipients. In an email world, a handwritten note takes only one extra moment, but that thoughtfulness goes a long way!

This practice will reinforce positive behaviors and encourage people to do the right thing.

The power of recognizing good work

You’ll often find your notes under the glass at people’s desks, on the walls of cubicles, etc. We’ve even seen people put them in scrapbooks.

Recognition also serves to empower your team members so they’ll feel more confident when making decisions. When you spend much of your time recognizing doing right, more right happens. Then, you’re well on your way to having a Level 5 culture. Utilizing that power of recognizing good work is part of the way to get there.

We're All InThis blog is based on material from my book “We’re All In.” You can get a copy of the first chapter for free here.

If you’d like a full copy of the entire book, you can get it here.

Enjoy the journey!




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