Give credit where credit is due

Typical amateurish management attitude: It's his job, after all. Why does he also need a pat in the back? He gets a salary!

Giving people credit and compliments makes them feel good. People who feel good work better. So the more opportunities you find for complimenting your team, the more you gain.

That's besides the moral aspect; true they are being paid, but if they achieved something they deserve the credit.

Credits can be given in many ways:

  • The "about" section can list all the team players; keep it alphabetic to avoid upsetting people.
  • Patent applications can list all those involved, even if their idea didn't make the final cut.
  • Progress reports can highlight those people who made a difference; rotate the names regularly to have everybody included.
  • At company meetings make sure to mention a few people by name.
But beware of adding a prize to the credit:
  • If it's not substantial, then it may have the opposite affect:
    • After all those extra late nights all I got was a meal for 2?
  • It can create internal competition - something we'll discuss in a future post. 
  • It can put a monetary value on effort and people will start comparing their effort to their prizes and invariably you will get some unhappy campers.
  • When finances get tight the first thing to go will be the prizes; and that's the time you need the most goodwill from your team.
Even sending out a company-wide "Happy Birthday" note to the daily celebrants is a way to make them feel special. If this comes with a birthday gift, then make sure that everybody (in a 6 - 9 months period, if not a full year), get the identical gift.

Another way of giving credit, saying thank you and making every feel appreciated is to occasionally give out freebies. Company T-shirts, pens and other give-aways can do the trick. If you order them for clients or fairs then order enough to also give one to each employee.

Celebrating major milestones or releases is another way to say Thank You to the teams involved. Ordering a cake or having some fun time with some games / quizzes or similar will cost the company 2 - 3 hours and will create the goodwill you need to start the next project with new energy.

Giving credit for non-job related tasks is also effective. Be it for somebody who keeps the coffee area clean or who starts an internal book club or even for somebody who did something outstanding in their private life.

Even though it's not work related, the person deserves a round of applause, and it will make them and their friends feel better - and they will all have a more productive day.

On the other hand, don't overdo it. Sending out a company-wide Bravo email when somebody does a 2 hour fix, is silly and shows that you don't understand the effort that goes into the bigger tasks. If you feel that a particular minor job was well done, then email that person - and her boss - but not the entire company.

Give credit where credit is due, and your team will respond by giving you lots of opportunities to give them credit. It's a win-win deal.

- Danny Schoemann

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