Leadership on a Napkin

Lesson 7:
Tips on Giving and Receiving Recognition

4 tips for when you acknowledge, recognize or give praise to others:

  1. Be specific. “Thank you for the thorough job you did on the quarter-close financial report” is much better than “Thank you for your hard work and great support.” It shows you know what the person actually did. It gives credibility to your acknowledgement.
  2. Be personal. “Mark, Linda and Joyce – your contribution to our discussion about the budget at yesterday’s meeting helped us solve some really thorny issues.” Rather than, “Thank you for giving good ideas yesterday.”
  3. Be timely. Thanking people for all their hard work last year is OK, but thanking them at the end of each day or week or month and calling out specific work on individual projects is most impactful.
  4. Be generous. You can thank the same people multiple times, even every day if they are doing a great job in some area. Don’t be stingy or stopped by the thought, “Well, I already thanked them for this yesterday.” Remember, acknowledgement is not about information or data, it’s about touching people. The more you do that, the better.

3 tips for when you receive acknowledgement, recognition or praise from others:

  1. Open your ears and heart. The worst thing you can do when people acknowledge or recognize you is deflect it. Saying things like “You shouldn’t have,” or “What I did wasn’t such a big deal” deprives you of the gift of recognition and deprives the person recognizing you from making a difference.
  2. Listen generously, then say “thank you!” When someone is acknowledging or recognizing you, regardless of what you think or what your cynical or sarcastic or critical inner voice is saying, just stay quiet, listen and then say “Thank you!”
  3. Let it in. Again, no matter what your inner voice is saying to you, when someone is acknowledging or recognizing you, take on the perspective that they are 100% right and accurate about you. Let the acknowledgement in, learn from it, grow from it and make sure to be empowered by it.