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Positive Recognition – A Guide

Many of us find it difficult to give positive recognition, both in the workplace and at home. Why? Possibly because it’s just easier not to give recognition. But really it’s not that hard. It just takes a little bit of planning, some focus and a little bit of effort.

How to Provide Positive Recognition

As a starting point, begin by listing all the groups of people that have an impact on your life… Family, friends, work colleagues, customers, suppliers, direct reports, etc.

Now add some names to each group. If you use computers regularly and have a spreadsheet on your machine then you might want to create a spreadsheet for this purpose. If not, the old, traditional paper and pen will work just fine.

Next set a weekly, recurring reminder in your calendar or diary system to run through the list of names. I use Google calendar for my personal calendar, it’s free and very effective.

As you run through your list of names ask yourself if any of those individuals did anything that you should recognize. If they did then send them a text, email, note or simply pick up the phone to thank them, if they didn’t then don’t send anything.

positive recognition

(Photo Credit: Roger Carr)

This should only take you a couple of minutes. It is a fantastic strategy for those who undertake 360 appraisals and want to improve their overall rating. A little note of appreciation makes people value and respect you as a person much more.

The trick with this technique is to simply continue to do it on a regular basis.

How to Give Positive Recognition

There are also some important things to bear in mind when you do give that individual some recognition. First and foremost is to remember to keep it positive. You will quickly negate all the positive emotions if you use the words ‘but’ or ‘however’ on the person you are recognizing.

For example “Great job on the presentation last week, however in future can you ensure that the team are provided with the preparation documentation 2 or 3 days prior to the event.”

Or “Many thanks for helping Joe out with his project but I’d prefer if you’d stick to the published guidelines next time.”

As you can hopefully see in the examples above, the use of ‘but’ or ‘however’ takes the focus of the recognition completely away. The person being praised is no longer feeling positively reinforced but instead is dwelling on the thought of what they should be doing differently next time.

Using ‘but’ or ‘however’ is the same as saying disregard everything that I said prior to this.

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