After long days and weeks, unexpected challenges, and many, many draining meetings – your project team has reached their major milestone. Let’s celebrate!
As a good manager, leader and even a peer, recognizing others and celebrating milestones is an unspoken expectation to building a strong and motivated team. Everyone wants to feel recognized and celebrated in the workplace, and it pays dividends. When we show recognition to employees, they become happier – as a result, they increase productivity. However, knowing where to start with recognition isn’t always easy.
Making Recognition Personal & Effective
For me, recognition should be genuine, unique, and personal. I’ve found that the most effective form of recognition combines a balance of recognizing how others are motivated and connecting your personal passions. This shows a level of vulnerability that says, “I care about you enough and want to express my gratitude by devoting something special of mine to you.”
Combining Passions with Gratitude
Everyone around the office now knows about my personal passion for baking and has learned to almost expect: if they’re on a team with me, they’ll get to taste some delicious home-baked goodies at some point. I know, what a “sweet” way to win someone over (pun intended). However, baking is something I didn’t always feel comfortable sharing with coworkers. When we reached a milestone, or the team just needed a simple pick-me-up, I would usually opt for the typical, “You got this, team” or “You’ve done great, now let’s keep going.” But it didn’t feel special. I wanted to really show my team just how much I appreciated all the hard work they had done, and for them to personally feel my gratitude.
So, I gave it a try, I made a batch of brownies from scratch, cocoa and all, with extra chocolate chunks melted in the middle, because I knew those were a popular item. In the morning, I carried the plate in awkwardly and just left them on a table thinking everyone would just ignore them as they walk by… but everybody loved them! And what was more surprising is that they loved the extra time and care it took for me to make them!
Over time, I started getting requests to make cupcakes, and cookies, and cheesecake – each request more specific and unique to that individual or teams. If the team succeeded, I baked! If the team needed a pick-me-up – I baked again! And if I wanted to show someone personal gratitude, I’d include a thank you note. This personal passion of mine has trickled into my work-life and has actually made me better at connecting with others and expressing gratitude more effectively.