Many managers rise to very senior levels, in part, because of their ability to identify and solve problems. What was once pure strength, becomes a bit problematic when that same manager becomes responsible for leading more and more people. No matter how senior we become, we all need to know that we are doing a good job. We all need to know that our efforts are appreciated. Recognition is a basic human need.

When someone, particularly in a position of authority, gives us specific, positive feedback, we are more motivated to keep going. Not only that, but we are also more likely to try things, to stretch, to go over and above, and to think carefully about what we are doing, rather than just go through the motions. We also learn what works, which means we can do it over and over again or apply the same lessons to new challenges.

Of course, you can’t just focus on what’s going right, you also need to identify and address what’s going wrong. The question is one of emphasis and degrees.

In a professional context, for people to act on feedback, they need to hear at least three times as much positive reinforcement as they hear criticism. (As an aside, according to the world’s number one authority on personal relationships – John Gottman – the ratio for a healthy marriage is more like eight to one!).

Recognition is a basic human need. Tell those around you when they demonstrate excellence, and they will be more likely to accept and act on all of your feedback.

Inspiration from others

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle

Questions to reflect on

  • Typically, do you focus more on what’s going wrong or what’s going well?
  • Where have your team members demonstrated excellence recently?
  • How and when will you acknowledge that excellence?

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about PETER

For two decades, Dr. Peter Fuda has been a Sherpa to leaders, teams and organizations across the globe. He’s coached more than 250 CEOs to measurably higher levels of performance. His consulting company has delivered dozens of cases of business transformation and thousands of individual cases of leadership transformation, at a success rate of greater than 90%.

Find out more about Peter

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