Best Practices - Part 3: Empowering Employees. Give Credit Where Credit is Due
May 5, 2016
For the past two weeks, I have been highlighting best practices in leadership that I share with clients, and that Greg Simeroth of eTech Parts uses every day. He believes in empowering his employees, welcoming input and being an inspiration. In the third part of this four-part series on empowering employees, we take a look at why giving employees proper credit for their work is vital to their decision-making abilities.
Give credit where credit is due. At Greg's team meetings, employees decide on weekly team goals. They are written on a white board posted at the front of the workroom. Goals are met and exceeded with regularity. He is quick to share the great work of his team to all who will listen. When he receives accolades for his division’s work, he points to the creativity and problem-solving skills of his team to give the credit. Greg lets his team shine, and he doesn't take credit for their good work.
Why is this so important to the success of your team? If your employees feel like their recognition is being stolen away from them by a manager, soon your hard workers will not work as hard. When I meet with leaders, I stress the importance of knowing your employees’ strengths, recognizing their efforts, and giving your employees credit when others notice a job well done.
Double check a job well done.
Credit for a job well done can also be stolen by coworkers. Some employees are unabashed self-promoters, while others will understate their contributions. It's your job to know who to thank or recognize, and when to single out individuals or the entire team. Nothing is more frustrating to an employee than to consistently give 110% while others give much less, and then get no recognition for putting their "all" into the work. Set a precedent of honesty in your culture. Expect, and ask, that employees honor each other's work, giving each other credit where credit is due. This strengthens bonds among the team, and encourages more productive teamwork.
Recognize the recognizers.
The employees who take time to recognize their colleagues' contributions should be noted. These people are the ones helping you spread the right type of culture through your office. In addition to verifying individual accomplishments, there is a lot of value in recognizing and highlighting examples of individuals taking the time to recognize others. It sends a signal that generous and honest acknowledgment of credit is something that the organization values.
Pay attention to quiet performers.
Your strongest contributors are sometimes the quietest. Even if they aren't worried about getting credit, you need to make sure they're recognized. Taking the time to identify and reward the quiet heroes can generate good will across an organization because it creates the sense that there is real integrity.
There's enough credit for everyone.
Credit is infinitely divisible, meaning that everyone can be recognized. But you have to be careful: credit quickly loses meaning when everyone gets it, including people who didn't do anything. The best recognition is based on what the individual values. For some that might be a pat on the back, for others it might be a mention in front of the team. Still others might enjoy a small treat such as a dinner out with family. I always recommend surveying your employees to see what each person prefers for individual recognition. And, recognize teamwork with an occasional group reward. A pizza lunch after successful completion of a project is a great way to let your team know they did a great job.
How do you recognize your employees?
In the fourth and final part of the Empowering Employees series, we will take a look at why good leaders are intentional in their leadership. If you have comments regarding best practices in empowering employees or would like to see a topic addressed, email: Joy@MaximizeYourLeadership.com.