Friday, February 20, 2009

Is it all about $$$? - Leadership Recognition


Somehow over a period of time, the actions associated with recognizing good performance became the sole domain of management. Things like performance reviews, raises and formal appreciation recognitions have become a “downward looking” role. What if it were the true leader that equally looks up, over and down when they recognize?

I had the humbling opportunity to accept the 2008 Global Diversity Change Agent Award from The Boeing Company last night. While it may appear top down, it was not. Individuals at the lowest levels of the organization can nominate anyone they would like. The nominations are then reviewed and the awards are sponsored by the company. Over the course of my long career, I’ve been given plenty of good reviews, raises and appreciations from management. I can tell you first hand the honor of subordinate recognition beat them all.

So what’s the leadership lesson? Particularly early in your career you must develop a rhythm of consistently recognizing and thinking good performance. Look for “people doing good.” Find achievements. Send hand written notes and emails to people you know when you hear they completed something significant. Don’t assume bosses get recognition from their leaders. Step up, pull the team together and thank them. You’ll be amazed at the result.

What ways have you developed to make recognition a regular activity? Have you ever recognized a boss?

18 comments:

Alex Kersha from Linkedin said...

John, Unfortunately this is a topic that I feel is probably pretty low on most peoples' totem poles. I think we all realize recognition is important and do our best to act on it but only when it's convenient. Your point rings loud and clear, we should all be making an effort to prioritize this. Especially in an economy like we have today, the effect it would have on improving morale would certainly engender alot more confidence from our subordinates. Great topic, thanks for posting and congratulations on your award! Cheers, Alex Kersha

Joy Cardinal said...

While it is important to our records and personnel files to be recognized by management, it is the "little" people that can make or break a career. To be praised and voted this honor says so much as to the kind of person that you are. Congratulations, and
I am so proud to be able to say that I know you.
Joy Cardinal

Remi Cote said...

First, congratulations for your award, John! You are right, it is great to be recognized by your peers or subordinates!

I would also like to add that recognition does not need to be big to be of value. Sometimes, people refrain from recognizing others because they feel it is too complicated or because the company just does not have the cash to do this at the moment. However, it is also possible to recognize people by a pad in the back, a simple mention of a success during a meeting (public recognition), or even a simple look can give a boost of energy to your people and will mean a lot to them!

My 0.02$...
Remi Cote
(Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/remicote)

Eric said...

I like the notion of the importance of peer and down the line recognition.

In my recently published novel for pre-teens, Ian, the main character, struggles to understand the difference between managing and leading. He understands that management is based upon processes, order, and controls and that leadership is more about developing the potential in others.
I think that it would be a step in the right direction if we were to teach some of the management and leadership concepts to our youth at an early age. And, prioritizing the value of recognition of others, regardless of hierarchy, should be included.

All the best!

Eric Dana Hansen
Author of “IAN, CEO, North Pole”
http://www.ianceonorthpole.com

Larry Lacy said...

"Hi John; Congratulations on winning 2008 Global Diversity Change Agent Award. You are absolutely correct that "management" are the ones that offer appreciation in most corporate entities. I found many individuals in a management function found it hard to show appreciation. Our training philosophy is that everyone should show appreciation for a job well done. We use the colors blue as productive behaviors and red for counter-productive behaviors in our training and assessments. I say this because we have had clients come up with "blue notes" as a way for anyone in the organization to offer appreciation. We teach the organization that is is okay for subordinates to show appreciation to their leaders. When an individual goes through this process it is amazing how quickly the "inner" leader surfaces and more members in the organization look at themselves as leaders. Most corporate entities have a "top done" management model and it is hard to teach individuals to be leaders unless they are bestowed with a management title. My philosophy is to blend the top down model with the "bottom-up" leadership model..Using this blended leadership model allows individuals to not just to be delegated with responsibility but also authority. I contend that many of the organizations that get into financial trouble is because too few individuals make too many of the decisions."

Ian Berry from Linkedin said...

Congratulations on your award John. One of our foremost desires as human beings is to be appreciated. We should take every opportunity to show appreciation for others without expectation of getting something back. I believe we should also hold people to account when performance is less than agreed it should be. Appreciation and accountability together work wonders for improving performance and are both in their own way forms of recognition."

Ian Finlay from Linkedin said...

Some 8 years ago I worked for a manager who embarked on a major cultural change program. The one stand-out idea for me was to "catch someone doing something well" and tell them. From then on I always tried to find reasons to praise staff, and work with them on performance issues. I also made time to tell my boss specifically how I appreciated his help (even when my last one made me redundant I thanked him for what I'd learned!). The returns were interesting, and sometimes dramatic. I always had the lowest staff turnover in my teams, often the hardest-working and most mutually supportive guys too. When I left my last role I had a couple of emails from direct reports and former team members that were very touching and supportive. The bad news was that more traditional managers and some less enlightened HR "professionals" saw me as soft. "You have to kick their asses sometimes" I was told. Never mind the results, they expected management and leadership to be more like a dictatorship. They never saw that when I had to make top-down decisions that these were accepted more rapidly and with less carping and sniping! So, I agree with your leadership lesson, but good luck convincing the old-style dictator/managers!"

Lutonya M. Lang from Linkedin said...

Congratulations on the Award. This is truly important. The legs of the business is the ones working when the boss is on vacation. They are the driving force in your revenue. If they are happy you will have a ripple affect in the company. I now have a Director of Artist Relations Dadria Hester and she works in so many areas. God has allowed us to connect to drive my businesses. I let her know how much I appreciate what she does by acknowledging that eventhough there are other options out here for people to work for other companies they don't have to choose you as an employer to give there time and creativity. Time you cannot get back so when you recognize the time they are given to your vision a new appreciation arise."

Mary said...

Hi John,

Just read your posting from Thursday. Congratulations on your honor. I a sure it was well deserved. Just from reading your blog, I know you live what you say. Once again, congrats and I am proud of you.

Mary

Anthony Reardon from Linkedin said...

Congrats on the recognition. I've worked with Boeing in the past, and their commitment to improvements from the bottom up are terrific. I've got a tool I've plugged in for this several times with terrific success. It's simply a matter of viewing everything from the lens of "service" and treating everyone associated with a business as customers. The best results are when people are so impressed with your service, they let you know and characterize you to others they talk to or work with. The same thing can reinforce the values of a company and help to optimize the agility of the organization. Best, Anthony

Alondra Dallaly from Linkedin said...

John, congratulations! Recognition from the foundation of the company is indeed an honor. My little corner of The Boeing Company is a small off-site office in Oklahoma City. Our group has a formal Employee Recognition Team. This team is made up entirely of non-management employees. Along with recognizing co-workers for jobs done above and beyond expectations, they continually educate (reminds) us on how to utilize the Pride at Boeing tools. This team helps foster a culture of gratitude. My personal favorite is the "Thank You" e-cards. I can send an e-card to the co-worker(s) (at the office, or across the country) and notify their manager instantly; while the moment is still fresh in my mind."

Jonathan Jobe from Linkedin said...

Congratulations Mr. John Bishop on your Leadership award also. Ms. Alondra Dallaly, I really like the Pride at Boeing tools (Award points, Thank you ecards) also. In the past, I sent out Thank you ecards when I left a group in a department and people really appreciated them. Even people that I usually don't work with in the department, I've mentioned to them in person congratulations for something that they were promoted for or a award that they have received."

john mihelich said...

john, first congratulations well earned. i must tell you i have always felt better getting recogntion from the folks in my org that i try to support day in and day out than from those above.
john mihelich

LJILJANA LOSICH from Linkedin said...

John, congratulations on your award I believe that's very well deserved. However, just like Ian and Lutonya have already said, you have to give the thanks where it's due, and hold the people accountable when their performance does not meet the requirement for the position that they hold. I believe that there should be an invisible line that seperates the top from the bottom of every pyromid, but not definite, as we all have to remember that the team work is what brings success of any business, big or small. Just like a musician cannot sell records without his/her fans, neither can a boss sell product/service without his team of salespeople or team that makes it all work. That is why I say: give the thanks to whoever deserves it, and do it often. People who are recognized work harder, work better and most importantly will appreciate you more for that act of kindness."

Martha Sears from Linkedin said...

In this era, staff and colleagues alike can never be thanked enough for their contributions and efforts. The challenge however is the change management piece; entering a culture where collaboration is confused with job insecurity. It takes time but what I was taught growing up still holds today, expressing appreciation to those around (directs and other) goes a long way.

Douglas Hoffman from Linkedin said...

I could not agree with Martha more completely. Acknowledgment is among the most powerful tools available. People who are acknowledged and appreciated, know at a core level what works within the organization and in life. -dH

Skeeter Lieberum from Linkedin said...

Likewise, John...congratulations on the award, but best of all, for the work that got you there. One additional comment. During my time in Air Force (25 years) and since then in a consulting practice, we often miss the opportunity to reward and recognize supervisors who are doing the little things to motivate our people. Publicly recognizing the guy who sends the cards and notes creates an atmosphere. People pay attention to what their leaders do and will emulate those actions. In our company, we often surface up an individual's extraordinary effort (PMP certification, client recognization) to our CEO to give the CEO the opportunity to make a personal touch. Tells the people that their good work and efforts are being communicated up, and it makes it about them, putting credit where it should be. Congratulations again. Skeeter Lieberum, Senior Partner, TBO International, LLC

Skeeter Lieberum, Senior Partner, TBO International, LLC said...

Likewise, John...congratulations on the award, but best of all, for the work that got you there. One additional comment. During my time in Air Force (25 years) and since then in a consulting practice, we often miss the opportunity to reward and recognize supervisors who are doing the little things to motivate our people. Publicly recognizing the guy who sends the cards and notes creates an atmosphere. People pay attention to what their leaders do and will emulate those actions. In our company, we often surface up an individual's extraordinary effort (PMP certification, client recognization) to our CEO to give the CEO the opportunity to make a personal touch. Tells the people that their good work and efforts are being communicated up, and it makes it about them, putting credit where it should be. Congratulations again.
Skeeter Lieberum, Senior Partner, TBO International, LLC

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