I got this question via Twitter a while ago and it’s stuck with me. It’s a tough question but one I’m asked a lot in my training sessions.
Why does an employee have to fight for his/her good performance to be recognized but bad ones are over emphasized?
I get it. An employee feels like their good work is never recognized. And to add insult to injury, they feel the mediocre or poor performance of others isn’t noticed at all. I don’t want to make excuses because there are managers out there who forget to recognize excellent performance.
But I will say that you shouldn’t make assumptions that managers are oblivious to the performance of their team. Sometimes managers are coaching employees but it’s not public knowledge. Or managers are trying to figure out how to manage someone’s performance because it’s difficult. Again, no excuses. The best and, in my opinion, the only way to approach this situation is to not focus on other people.
- Focus on your performance. You will go “cray cray” if you try to fight for your performance by comparing yourself to someone else. Compare your performance to the company standard. Either you meet (or exceed) the standard or you don’t.
- Don’t “fight” for recognition. The best way to have your work recognized is by discussing your results. And by making sure your boss knows how you like to be recognized. I’m amazed at the number of employees who assume that their manager somehow knows (maybe by osmosis?) the best way to convey sincere recognition to them.
Note to managers who are reading this post: If you don’t know the best way to recognize your team – ask them! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying, “I want to recognize your work in a way that’s meaningful to you. Aside from money – because we all want that – what’s the best way to positively recognize your work?”
Employees want to be recognized for their work in a way that’s meaningful for them. A surefire way to disengage employees is to recognize them in a way that embarrasses them. Creating employee engagement includes finding ways to deliver positive feedback in the employee’s preferred style.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby