Recognizing the achievements of your team members pays back real dividends in terms of team cohesiveness, trust and performance. How you recognize those achievements can also have an effect as you motivate your team.

How many times have you recognized this pattern in an office: A team leader or department manager gives out accolades in the weekly meeting to employees who’ve surpassed goals or made the highest sales. Later, that same leader calls an individual into his or her office – always to give negative feedback or bad news.

Now, I’m not advocating for leaders to detail an individual employee’s slipping performance in an open meeting room. That’s a recipe for disaster.

It’s the pattern that’s the problem. I once knew a manager who delivered bad news to individual employees by approaching that person and saying, “Let’s take a walk.” After his employees caught on to the pattern – and that happened quickly – they started avoiding him every time he walked out onto the floor.

motivate your teamMost of the time, managers fall into this pattern because they either have too many employees and not enough time to get to know them all, or they don’t want to put in the work to do so. As a team leader, it’s understandable if you’re managing a large group of people not to know every little thing about them. Even leaders with just a few reports may have trouble getting to know everyone, at least at first.

Learn more about your team. Build a rapport with them. Schedule occasional outings, like a bowling or billiards night. Find the time to chat casually with the team, whether it’s before or after meetings, at company events or other opportunities.

Take note of how and when you give feedback to team members. If you’re falling into a pattern of only giving negative feedback during one-on-one reviews, break that pattern: Call in a team member to thank them for taking on a difficult task that wasn’t part of their usual duties, for example. In group meetings, forgo the accolades for individuals and recognize group achievements.

Recognition can motivate individuals and teams to new performance heights – so work on ways to really make sure that team members know they’re appreciated for their extra work and accomplishments.


One Team, One DreamExcerpted from One Team, One Dream by Gregg Gregory For more information, get your copy of Gregg’s book, One Team, One Dream today! Available in both print and electronic versions!

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