A few years ago I read The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance [Updated & Revised] written by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. The book is based on a ten-year study of 200,000 employees and managers in the area of how to best motivate their team members. The results of their studies found that “the central characteristic of truly effective management – the element that shows up time and again in every great workplace – is a manager’s ability to recognize employees’ talents and contributions in a purposeful manner.”
I think there are three kinds of leaders in the workplace today. One group does nothing in the area of motivation and recognition. They believe that the paycheck the employees receive each week is all the motivation they need. A second group would like to do something in the areas of motivation and recognition but do not know how to go about it. When they do attempt to do something it is often awkward for everyone involved and usually fails to be very motivational. The third group is committed to providing a workplace where people’s efforts are recognized and rewarded in a way that is motivational to everyone. What is exciting about this book is that it has something to say to persons in all three groups.
Their study found that effective leaders were seen by their employees are strong in four areas: Goal setting, Communication, Trust, and Accountability. When recognition is added to these four areas “it serves as an accelerator of employee performance and engagement.” I wished I had understood this better when I owned a small business a few years ago.
I would probably have put me in the second group. We had good employees, but I did not intentionally recognize their extra efforts as much as I should have, and when I did it was usually somewhat awkward for them and for me. I was never certain of what kind of recognition was appropriate. Probably my efforts were more demotivating than they were motivating. I have no doubt that my leadership would have been much improved if I had read this book when I had the business, and I have no doubt that our company would have been much more productive and profitable if I had properly recognized our employees in ways that would have encouraged them.
If this is an area in which you struggle you really need to read this book. Near the end of the book you’ll find 125 different ways to recognize your team members. That information alone is worth the price of the book. You can find out more about it or order it by clicking on the above title.