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Don’t Forget This Important Component in the Manager Toolkit

by Traci Pesch

Casual gathering of business colleaguesRecognize This! – Peer recognition serves a critical role, but managers must not abdicate their responsibility to notice and praise employees, too.

In my role as a consultant, one of my favorite job duties is traveling to client locations to lead and facilitate strategy sessions. Other than missing an occasional volleyball game or school event for my kids, it’s usually fairly easy to handle logistically – unless my road warrior husband also happens to be traveling at the same time. That’s when we bring in the support team – the grandparents.

We are blessed to have both sets of grandparents close by and ever willing to step in and help out when we travel for work. They do a great job and the kids love them. But, no matter how fun or how good their snickerdoodle cookies, grandparents aren’t Mom and Dad. Inevitably when we return, the kids race to us with big grins on their faces and saying, “You’re home! We missed you! Let me tell you about everything that happened when you were gone.”

What’s the connection to social recognition? Recognition and appreciation from peers and colleagues is undeniably important. Peers see and celebrate with us the great work we do every day. Our friends and colleagues at work are like our grandparents. They celebrate our accomplishments, cheer us on, and offer regular encouragement and celebration.

Parents – well, they’re more like managers. We parents have a responsibility to celebrate the good as well as lay down the law. It’s a balance that is profound and never easy. Similarly, managers have a responsibility to both praise employees and offer constructive criticism and redirection when necessary. That’s why the recognition lever is a powerful component of the manager’s toolkit. Recognition from managers is very different than recognition from peers. Recognition from managers signals acknowledgement of excellent work, growth, accomplishment. Recognition from managers carries weight with employees.

Peer recognition is and will always be an important way to add “eyes” to catch someone doing something good and recognize those we work with every day. But that doesn’t lessen the responsibility for managers to also pay attention and recognize, too.

From whom do you most often receive recognition – managers or peers? Which do you feel carries more impact?

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