4 Tips For Better Workplace Recognition

Author: Mark Soanes

Workplace recognition is something that is an art form when it is done well. Here are our top 4 tips on how to be more effective and create more engagement when delivering recognition.

We also touch on how important it is for leaders and managers to know how to give effective recognition because of the effect it can have on teams and organisations.

The Role Of Positivity in Leadership And Management

In today’s world people who are overly positive can often be seen as vulnerable and naive. Conversely, negative people are seen as sophisticated, realistic and business like. We need to increase positivity, however it is hard to give someone valuable and effective positive recognition. Creating a culture where positive feedback is encouraged isn’t enough. All of the feedback can’t be purely positive, for it to be seen real there needs to be some negative. Appreciation needs to be designed and delivered in a particular fashion to be effective. Well delivered, effective recognition is a trait of good leadership and management.

Workplace Recognition Tips

Be Direct

Showing appreciation to someone is an art. There are subtle differences in how you talk to people that make a lot of difference. Being direct when showing appreciation to someone and talking directly to them is really important. Making eye contact and avoiding using 3rd person will make people resonate more with what you are saying. Use language such as “you” and “your” as opposed to words like “their”, “his” or “hers”. Try to look at the person as opposed to the rest of the team. As a leader or manager it is important to keep the recognition directed at the person as opposed to just talking about what they did in front of them. It takes good leadership and management traits such as honesty and sincerity to be done effectively.

Tips For Effective Workplace Recognition

Be Frequent

People care much more about negative feedback than positive. If you get one piece of negative feedback and one piece of positive feedback, the negative feedback will effect you more. This means that you need loads to good positive feedback or recognition to feel like you are in the “green” or on the up. In life, setbacks are everywhere, so to keep people thinking they are in the green or on the up they need loads of positive feedback and appreciation. A ratio of 5:1 good to bad feedback is needed to keep someone in the “green”. So if you get 2 bad things happen to you in a day, you have an idea of how many good things you need to be back in the “green”. This gives managers and leaders a perspective to how much feedback they need to deliver to people to be effective and maintain engagement.

change management

Be Specific

The more specific you are when showing appreciation, the more impact it will have. Being too vague and general leaves people to interpret what you said based on that persons values and past experiences. Try not to praise a personal characteristic or a result. This is because that person can easily disprove it in they’re head. It is better to praise process behaviours that lead them to a result, be very specific about exactly what they did and what you liked about it. As a leader or manager it is good to point out specific details or little touches that the person did well because it shows that you pay attention to the work they do. This is a trait of good leadership and will make sure that they know their work is appreciated.

Applying leadership skills

Be Non-Attributive

Make the appreciation about your reaction to that persons behaviour. Make sure you talk about the impact that their behaviour had on you and what you got from that personally. Be careful not to say things like “you are so…” because in that persons head they will think “no i’m not” easily disregarding the recognition. A better way to phrase the same feedback can be “I really liked the way you did this, it helped me in this way and made me feel like this…” By using this language you make it more personal so that the person gets more out of the recognition, knowing that their leader or manager was personally inspired and effected by what they did.


To sum up, if you take on board the 4 tips and be direct, frequent, specific and non-attributive you will be much more effective at delivering feedback and recognition. People will take on board more of what you say and be more engaged. As a leader or a manager this is such a valuable skill to have because it is something that you can use everyday to maximise engagement.

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