by Roy Saunderson | June 09, 2013
Giving recognition to colleagues at work can be challenging for some of us. This means we have to ready ourselves to acquire the knowledge and skills for becoming more proficient givers of recognition. How can we gain the commitment to do better and practice these important skills well? Check out these Top 10 Ways to Get Ready to Give Recognition, and put these ideas into practice.
1. Acknowledge recognition giving skills may not be easy for everyone to do. It’s true: not all of us are born naturals at expressing and showing appreciation to others. Be prepared to be formally assessed and discover the areas in which you may need to improve.
2. Know the benefits from giving meaningful and effective recognition to people. Giving better recognition increases the strength of relationships between people. Better connections improve employee engagement which, in turn, lifts performance. It’s always a win-win.
3. Be open and vulnerable to your present knowledge and capabilities in order to give recognition. Acknowledge your strengths in recognition giving and the areas that you need to improve upon. Solicit feedback from colleagues and direct reports and be prepared to change.

4. Imagine what it would feel like to be proficient in giving meaningful and effective recognition. Create motivation to inspire improvement by identifying your intentions to change – why do you want to give recognition better? Visualize how relationships and work performance will be different for others.
5. Talk to great givers of recognition and ask them about the fruits of their giving. We improve when we believe differently and are emotionally motivated to change. Find out from exemplary recognition leaders as to how they have benefited from appreciating people well.
6. Foster internal commitment and motivation for recognizing people. Create corporate campaigns to promote the need for, and benefits of, effective recognition. When the company is behind you it automatically elevates a higher sense of expectation from everyone.
7. Provide great learning resources and education on the why, what, and how of recognition giving. Getting ready to learn recognition requires meaningful, memorable, and motivational learning resources that deliver results. Whether online or personally delivered the goal should always be to effect behavioral change.
8. Challenge people to apply their new recognition abilities to real-world situations. Giving recognition learning without putting the knowledge and skills into practice is a waste of time and resources. Set goals, clear expectations, and strict accountability for transferring the learned skills on the job.
9. Give opportunities for recognition givers to evaluate situations, recall learning, and apply recognition skills. Put skills into action by identifying typical recognition situations, as well as novel ones, to go out and deliver to. Give a return and report to your manager on your experiences and the informal learning obtained.
10. Self-evaluate your performance and ask for feedback on your recognition giving from recipients and mentors. Don’t just count recognition program usage metrics. Record how you think you have changed and find out from recipients their candid feedback on how effective you are in practicing recognition giving. Ask your mentors how they think you’re doing too.
Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and Chief Learning Officer of the Recognition Management Institute, a consulting a training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at [email protected]. Also, tune in every Tuesday to his radio show, Real Recognition Radio