Extraordinary Team Blog

Praise Your Whole Team, Individuals with Variety

Posted by Kristin Arnold on January 22, 2009

Have you ever heard someone complain that they received too much praise or attention for a job well done?  As a team, create special moments to celebrate team success and contributions.  Eric Harvey, in his book, 180 Ways to Walk the Recognition Talk, has several great ideas to recognize your team members.

Make a List.  Write down the names of all your team members.  Go through your list and remember the last time you recognized each person . . .  and for what.  If you can’t remember, then it’s a sure sign you are not doing enough!

Start with a Question.  “Who is a role model when it comes to teamwork?”  or “When you do a good job, how do you like to be recognized?”  You’ll not only learn about what motivates your teammates, but you’ll also establish an expectation that everyone will do a good job.

Pass Along Award.  Establish some sort of trophy, gizmo, stuffed animal, etc. that has meaning to the team.  Include some pass-along rules like:  “The Stuffed Monkey Award” (no monkey business here) for quality performance must be passed along by the recipient to another deserving person within two weeks of receipt.”  Let everyone contribute to the type of award(s) and accompanying rules.

Wall of Fame.  Post all kinds of stuff on a bulletin board (real or virtual):  pictures of team members, copies of certificates of completion for training, thank you notes from customers, newspaper clippings about the organization’s success, etc.  Let your team’s creativity flow . . .

Show Off.  Invite others to “benchmark” your team.  Few things send a more powerful message than having others study and learn from what your team is doing.  And there are two added benefits:  you increase the pride level within your team and you help others gain from your experiences.

Recognize Individuals Too.  When you give team recognition, follow it up with individual recognition for individual contributions.  Some people work harder and contribute more than others — and they know it!  When you recognize everyone equally, you run the risk of turning off your high performers.  And don’t forget the “middle stars” — those day-in and day-out solid performers who keep the team moving along.

Question:  Do you have a unique way to recognize your team members?