THE MAGIC OF RECOGNIZING
Without a doubt, we have all been positively surprised to receive recognition. Organizations strive to implement recognition programs to build the feedback muscle, however, it has not been easy to incorporate. In general, it is easier for leaders to give feedback on something to improve than to give themselves the space to recognize a job well done.
Do you ever remember that you received an award for a job well done? For daring to do an experiment that led the team to improve? for daring to challenge ideas? You may have received more scolds than congratulations, but don’t worry, it’s what most of us experience in organizations.
Today in this agile environment, uncertain and full of opportunities, recognition opens up infinite possibilities, enabling employees to dare to experiment without fear of making mistakes. Feeling appreciated at work is one of the most important motivations, it fosters commitment and confidence.
This fact could be clearly seen in a study carried out by Boston Consulting Group (2016) on happiness in organizations, which highlighted, as the first factor in the ranking, “feeling appreciated for the work done”, as can be seen in the graph.
In the study, “good relations with colleagues” and “good relations with superiors” were ranked second and fourth. Imagine then the magic that can occur if we promote recognition among peers and include their superior as a great team? What if I tell you that you can do a simple and high-impact practice without organizations investing money in platforms or programs that are not always successful.
Today we also see teams that can be exposed to a lot of stress for different reasons, therefore giving yourself the space of recognition can be a practice that comforts and strengthens the team. This was the context that the team to which I applied Kudos Cards lived.
There are eight types of cards that can be used with the following titles: Great job!, Congratulations!, Proud!, Very happy!, Well done!, Totally Awesome!, Thank you! and Many Thanks!
If you want to know more about this Management 3.0 practice, I invite you to visit the site https://management30.com/practice/kudo-cards/
The team with which I applied the practice consisted of an assistant manager and three reports (area leaders). This team worked in a retail company, it was going through a restructuring and many of them had to embark on new directions. This situation was affecting them in different areas of their lives.
They had been working together for 5 years, they were great friends and colleagues. We had previously done other Management 3.0 internships and were excited about the achievements. On this occasion, the Assistant Manager, who was the leader of this team, had informed them that he already had a new job and that he would soon leave the team, which affected everyone because he was a leader loved and recognized by them.
For this reason, I decided that Kudos Cards would be an excellent practice that would allow them to thank each other, and especially to recognize the assistant manager in a more entertaining way without making this dynamic something sad, but rather to remain happy for what they lived together these years and wish him success in your new challenges. They were a very optimistic and happy team, for sure they would like this experience and it would serve.
This dynamic consists of proposing to create a space accessible to all in which team members can recognize each other in different formats using the greeting cards.
A Kudo is not just given from the top down, but peer-to-peer and bottom-up. Anyone can recognize someone else’s work. It’s a way to break through hierarchical constraints and encourage everyone to offer instant positive feedback.
Incentives ensure that people stop doing things just for the joy of the work, but rewards that trigger intrinsic motivation are more effective, most sustainable, and usually cost less money.
How do you carry out this practice?
Considerations: this dynamic was carried out virtually using zoom. Before starting, I created a panel in Miró with the names of each of the team members.
• I started by explaining that there were different cards and that they could use as many as they wanted. Mention that this virtual panel would be permanently available so that group members could use this tool whenever they wanted in the future. However, in this meeting we would start by putting recognition into practice, putting recognition cards on each one. For 15 minutes they worked individually and then shared these publicly. Because it was a team that knew and trusted each other, they quickly started working on the cards.
• At the end of 15 minutes, they saw their wall with various recognitions. It was something simple and fun.
• Then each of them read their acknowledgments. They were excited with the gesture of acknowledging and thanking.
• They especially expressed to the assistant manager who was about to leave the team, all their admiration and affection, they thanked these years for the genuine concern and development of each one.
• When we finished, we agreed to do the next session since they were emotionally affected as a result of the unstable work situation they were experiencing and the prompt departure of their direct boss.
• They were very satisfied with the session because it had connected them emotionally and they had been given a space to thank the leader of this area who they highly valued.
At the next meeting, we started by sharing learnings. They were very happy with the dynamics. They valued taking time to say thank you, it shows that the other cares about you and that each one made the effort that was valuable to the whole team.
The assistant manager mentioned that he had never received written and public acknowledgment from the bottom up. He took this experience like a treasure and observed how simple it was and the high impact on the team.
It was also very gratifying for the rest of the team. Although it was a tight-knit team, having a meeting just for this gave them strength and impact in addition to being visible to the rest of the team. They reported feeling a lot of emotion and that it had been perfect because in a few weeks they would no longer have their boss and they would have to coordinate with each other, which gave the impetus and confidence to start this new stage of the team.
As a facilitator, I learned that recognition and self-knowledge are key to the development of people. We all need to feel valued and this impacts a team’s self-esteem, confidence, and motivation.
I also learned that there are small great things that happen daily and that despite being a united team they do not stop to make it visible to the rest of their teammates. That is why the importance of making it accessible to all and leaving instances of review.
As an agent of change, it is a great responsibility to facilitate these activities but I feel very gratified to accompany this team, especially because I feel very proud of them and of the progress they make every week despite what they are experiencing as a team.
I also learned that no matter how long they know each other, there are always things that we suddenly take for granted.
The team learned how relevant it is to give recognition to promote motivation and teamwork, to reinforce bonds and trust, that recognition can be given in different directions, and not only should you wait for the leader to recognize it but is equally valuable doing it between pairs. While it was a cohesive team, they incorporated a practice that further strengthened the team. It incorporated as a habitual practice to the monthly meetings that they had and they read the new recognitions to make it public and that the fact of recognition would take more force.
In the future, I would like to do it in person so that they can hug each other if they want to and experience that feeling and atmosphere that gives a more intimate place being all together.
The next time I experience this practice, I will ask members to join their teams in this practice, such as a monthly meeting. That they recognize at the beginning of the meeting some exceptional work or an innovative idea that allowed them to improve a process or product so that others are motivated to do so. This recognition will act as a reinforcement of the behavior.
I recommend that you always leave the wall visible either physically or that it has access to everyone if it is virtual. After using it, you will see how the relationship between the team will improve and you will have more empowered and participatory people in the activities that they will continue to carry out. And so they will value even more the intrinsic motivation that comes directly from their peers.
I suggest you offer a space for participants to account for the emotions generated by having positive feedback from others to ensure that we take advantage of the potential for motivation and happiness that this practice can give us.
I invite you to use Kudos from Management 3.0 and the different practices that will support you as an agent of change. If you want to know more about them visit the site https://management30.com