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Recognition or reprisal?

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

Happy July leaders. With so many summer birthdays approaching, be sure to send the right message!

Just recently, a good friend received a birthday card from an executive member of their team.  Nice, right?  At first glance, yes.  Recognition from one-up managers and executives is always nice and appreciated.  The trick of these happy little missives however is to engage, inspire, motivate, thank, show appreciation…and much more. 

However, when the message follows with a reprisal it loses all its value. And in fact, un-does the purpose of the original intent. This is the written equivalent of handing you a beautiful pair of Chanel heels only to cut off your feet.

Recognition must be a standalone event. Don’t misunderstand, developmental feedback is important; however, it cannot be associated with recognition. The point of recognition is to express gratitude, appreciation, and reinforce desired behavior. It is also one of the top drivers of employee engagement (Kouzes & Posner). It is simple, should come from the heart, and should be often. The best part of recognition is that its free! It costs noting to praise a team member for good work and should be done often.

Keep sending those cards leaders. Be they thank you cards, birthday cards, or however you express appreciation send them as often as possible. Remember to keep the appreciation limited to that expression and leave the reprisals for another place and time!

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