- As any good manager knows, recognition is a top human motivator. But some employers may struggle to give recognition to individuals within a team setting, according to the Harvard Business Review.
- When done poorly, individual praise – especially if heaped on one employee over others – can lead to intense internal competition and even, in the worst-case, inspire sabotage of fellow teammates.
- Mary Shapiro gives three tips to employers who want to better praise the individuals on their teams: connect one-to-one, include positive feedback and share credit publically.
Shapiro suggests that team leaders should get to know each member of their team personally. But good managers should also be willing to help advance their teammates' careers.
“One of the most powerful forms of recognition is to help people grow,” she writes.
Be sure to give positive feedback when de-briefing, too. If you only focus on behaviors that should be changed, you’re missing out on an opportunity to recognize the good works and behaviors of your team members.
Finally, visibility outside the team is another effective form of recognition, Shapiro writes. She gives the example of a senior scientist in a pharmaceutical lab who saw that her team of junior scientists and research assistants were lagging in motivation. The senior scientist decided to add the names of all those on the team who had helped with each future report, and saw engagement skyrocket.
“When team members could claim authorship, their motivation soared,” she writes.