Add An Awesome Accelerator to Your Leadership Tools


The five tools of leadership I talked about last week work with followers to increase positive performance and overall productivity. But if you combine these tools with an accelerator you get even better results. We use accelerators help speed up processes or enhance results and who wouldn’t want that?

The accelerator of leadership tools is … recognition.

Recognition is something that everyone desires and seeks when they perform on and off the job. Recognition helps us meet a significant ego need we all have. When our performance also meets our personal needs, our motivation to continue good performance is significantly increased. By combining recognition with any of these tools it serves as a significant accelerant for both performance and productivity.

Accountability & Recognition

Recognition accelerates accountability by building within followers a desire to achieve and be held accountable for their accomplishments for which they know they will be recognized. By recognizing progress towards goal accomplishments, leaders can let followers know in a positive way that they are being held accountable for ultimately achieving the goal. Remember last week I said that even a pat on the back was accountability. The more we can utilize accountability in a positive way the better our results. For more ideas on accountability see Heather Kerrigan’s recent article, 10 Tips for Encouraging Accountability in Your Agency (and Quotes to Inspire It).

Trust & Recognition

When a leader publicly recognizes a follower the trust meter shoots off the scale. When a leader recognizes a follower publicly other followers trust the leader to give credit to those who earn it. Frequent acts of recognition binds followers to each other and the leader. Maintaining a trusting leader/follower relationship is an on-going process that can never be taken for granted. Using the recognition accelerator is an effective way to help cultivate and maintain trust.

Feedback & Recognition

Feedback from a leader to a follower has little effect unless it is accepted. Acceptance of feedback in a large measure is dependent on the trust the follower has in the leader giving the feedback. Recognition of a deserving follower builds trust which in turn makes the follower more responsive and accepting of the feedback offered. Recognition accelerates the effect of feedback from a leader to a follower. Read Samantha Corey’s great article, “How to Provide Feedback in a Constructive Manner” for more specifics you can use.

Sensitivity & Recognition

Remember this tool centers on the actions by the leader to indicate considerations and feelings of others. Recognition helps you to develop rapport with followers. When giving recognition it is important to determine the kind of recognition that is of value to the follower. Left to chance the winner of the “free hair cut” door prize always seems to go to the guy in the room with no hair. Just because you find wall plaques cool doesn’t mean others feel the same way so take time and give thought to the types of recognition being given so it has meaning to the one receiving it.

Goal Setting & Recognition

Recognition reinforces goal setting by allowing a leader to recognize those activities that move towards goal accomplishment and correct non-productive activities without having to point out deficiencies. Public recognition is a valuable tool to highlight values positively while encouraging others to duplicate those actions they see recognized. Recognition also accelerates goal achievement by bringing new enthusiasm to the pursuit. To quote one of my mentors, “Workplace recognition weds our adult reasoning skills with our childlike enthusiasm, creating a perfect union and employee involvement.”

Communication and Recognition

Recognition accelerates communication by demonstrating the importance of the follower to the group and the leader. Communicating recognition on a personal, one-to-one, basis strongly says to the follower that they important as an individual. If your organization is like mine we “communicate” using volumes of email, hold group meetings to the point of ad-nauseum, and post messages that would strain any break room bulletin board; but when a leader communicates personally the importance of the message and the reception of the message is accelerated.

I wrote down a quote during a training course I attended many years ago and it has always stuck with me. “The innate need for recognition is not a selfish, superficial craving for the center spotlight; it is an authentic, deep-seated desire to be deemed worthy when offering something of worth.”

Don’t wait — recognize someone today!

Chuck Bayne is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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