Recognition is one of the most underused tools in a leader’s repertoire. It is one of the easiest ways to drive performance and yet companies and leadership struggle to use it effectively. I believe this is due to several factors, leaders get bogged down in the "tyranny of the urgent" with paperwork, reports, meetings and so on. And there is what I call the 90/10 rule.
The 90/10 Rule
The 90/10 rule is the idea that leaders will spend 90% of their time dealing with 10% of their staff. Every time I discuss this with clients it resonates. It is an easy habit to fall into as those staff often demand attention in one form or another. But here is what that really means; spending the majority of your time with underachieving staff members means that you are NOT spending time with the majority of your staff who ARE doing their job or who are excelling at it!
That 90% group is where performance is happening. This is where the application of recognition can in fact do amazing things to drive performance even higher. The research around this is abundant and the international polling organization Gallup places recognition as one of the leading factors in driving engagement on high performing teams.
Not Recognizing Has The Same Effect As Negative Recognition
Teams with high levels of recognition consistently perform in the top percentile at about 70% better than teams with a negative recognition environment. Understand that negative recognition and the absence of recognition produce the same results. (Ignoring a behaviour is one of the fastest ways to extinguish it.) Low engagement results in higher absenteeism, lower quality of output or client experience, higher turnover and more safety incidents.
Reward And Recognition Are Not The Same
Often recognition is confused with reward and they are not the same. Recognition can be as simple as a pat on the back or a "good job" from the boss. Most importantly it should be genuine and consistent. Create a recognition rich environment and encourage your team to give each other a nod when something good is done.
Here is an interesting tidbit from Gallup, women managers tend to do better at engaging their teams than male managers. One reason for this is a higher tendency toward recognition. Don't wait to recognize, look for the behaviours you want, set a daily schedule for yourself and start focusing on that 90% group! Performance Leadership - Think About It!