Don’t Overthink Recognition and Praise

Managers can be shy or unsure of themselves when it comes to recognizing and praising others at work.  That’s some of the feedback we’ve been getting as people have been participating in our Catch People Doing Things Right Twitter contest (see details below).  Part of the reason is that leaders are concerned that they won’t do it right—or that it won’t be received well.  These fears are mostly groundless.  Everyone loves to be praised.  For managers looking to catch their people doing things right, there are really only two things to keep in mind:

1. Be Immediate and Specific–For a praising to be effective, it must be immediate and specific. Tell people exactly what they did right as soon as possible. For example, “You submitted your report on time Friday, and it was well written. In fact, I used it in a meeting today, and that report made you and me and our whole department look good.”

Use examples such as “I see productivity in your department is up ten percent” or “Your report helped us win the contract with the Jones Company.” Comments that are too general, such as “I appreciate your efforts,” “Thank you very much,” “I don’t know what I’d do without you,” and “Keep up the good work,” are less likely to seem sincere and thus are unlikely to be effective.

2. State Your Feelings–After you praise people, tell them how you feel about what they did. Don’t intellectualize. State your gut feelings: “Let me tell you how I feel. I was so proud after hearing your financial report presentation at the Board of Directors meeting. I want you to know how good I feel about your being on our team. Thanks a lot.”

Recognizing people and expressing appreciation doesn’t have to be a laborious, drawn-out process.  In fact, many times your best praisings are the informal, spur-of-the-moment opportunities that happen throughout the course of the day. 

Get started today.  Catch someone doing things right.  It’s a powerful way to show someone you care and it can be your best management minute of the day.

Twitter Contest–Today’s Winner!

Congratulations to Christie at Mississippi State’s Women’s basketball program.  She was recognized by Coach Joey Burton and is the winner of today’s prize of a personally autographed copy of one of Ken Blanchard’s latest books. 

If you’d like to participate and recognize someone you know for a job well done, just follow the instructions below.  We’ll be choosing one more winner tomorrow.

Instructions for “Catch Someone Doing Things Right” Twitter Contest

1. Go to  and post the name of the person you would like to catch doing things right along with a very short (140-characters or less) description of why. Include the following code in your message @leaderchat

For example: @leaderchat  Nick Peterson—for your work in developing our new press release program and keeping everyone up-to-date on a regular basis.  Thank you!

 2. Push the UPDATE button

It’s as simple as that.  Every day between now and Friday we’ll randomly choose one lucky person among those entered to receive a personally autographed copy of one of Ken Blanchard’s latest books.  Each day’s winner will be posted at 6:00 a.m. Pacific Time right here at

3 thoughts on “Don’t Overthink Recognition and Praise

  1. a note for managers- put the recognition you are giving in writing or make a copy of what you are giving the employee and put it in their personel file. Those files should contain good write-ups too

  2. Pingback: Why Don’t We Recognize People More Often? « Blanchard Leader Chat

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