Leadership for Life – Hubris

By on September 15, 2014
Expressions of Gratitude and Recognition

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

Hubris is a kind of overweening pride in oneself and one’s accomplishments that often leads (at least in Greek tragedies) to a devastating downfall.

These days we generally don’t concern ourselves with the risks of disrespecting Zeus, Athena, Aphrodite, et al, but many leaders often fail to give credit to their followers for contributing to the success of organizations. When leaders are feted and given awards for their accomplishments, we often hear some lip service comments like, “I couldn’t have done it with my talented staff,” etc. The “talented staff” usually knows how genuine the appreciation is – or isn’t.

I’m not suggesting that leaders should get all touchy-feely with their employees, but clear expressions of gratitude and recognition are certainly warranted and necessary if you want your people to continue to follow you. Some of these expressions of gratitude should include tangible elements, such as money or other goods. After all, if an employee has managed to make or save the company substantial money, should s/he share in the bounty? Gordon Gecko had it wrong when he said, “Greed is good.” Nobody likes a glutton.

Reward and recognition doesn’t always require money. A sincere expression of gratitude or a pat on the back will often get the same results as a gift certificate to a restaurant. If you haven’t already done so, you should be reading anything written by Dr. Bob Nelson, including 1501 Ways to Reward Employees: Creating a Culture of Recognition. Nelson’s other books include The 1001 Rewards & Recognition Fieldbook: The Complete Guide, 1001 Ways to Energize Employees, and several others.

Right now, you’re probably wondering if Nelson actually counts the methods he suggests in order to get to 1001 or 1501. I can say with confidence that I haven’t, but you can give it a go if you’re so inclined. What’s important is that every method Nelson suggests is based on actually doing something, not some theoretical construct. Whether you’re rewarding someone, coaching them, or reprimanding them – behavior is the bottom line. What you actually say and do is what makes the difference.

Look for opportunities to recognize and reward your people. Be sincere and specific in your positive feedback, as well as with your criticisms. Ask for their help in solving some problems and demonstrate your faith in their expertise. There are, well, 1001 ways to reward and recognize your people, and now’s the time to select a few and put them to work.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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