Dilbert on motivation

Recognition.  Trust.  Setting an example.  How many more leadership attributes can be contained in one comic strip?

Of course that’s not really the question.  The question is, thinking about your own behavior, do you trust people right out of the gate, or do they have to earn and build your trust?  I’ve asked that of many different leaders and there are always some people who fit into each category.  Which is better?  Are either of them right?  Does it come down to experience and personality?  Probably.

What about recognition?  My last post was all about recognition and making sure we are recognizing and rewarding the right things.  What I didn’t really touch on was WHEN to reward.

Just like the trust/no trust camps, there are those who believe that someone’s paycheck is their recognition versus those who understand that people need to feel part of something, they need to belong… they need to see the value they bring to the organization.  They need to be recognized.

To answer the question of WHEN to reward and recognize, it needs to be when it’s deserved.  If it’s too often and overdone it becomes meaningless, and when not done enough (like in the cartoon) it is demotivating.  But I do believe that this is one that we HAVE to make the first investment in.  We can’t wait for someone to WOW us before we recognize them.  We could be waiting for a long time.

This is especially true for brand new employees.  They are just getting their feet wet, trying to figure out the company, their co-workers, everything.  They will need encouragement and guidance if they are to become a productive employee for you.

I will leave you today with a challenge and a few things to think about… first the things to think about:

When was the last time you rewarded effort or a mistake?  We often wait for the end result to provide recognition, however it’s effort (and continued effort) that is going to get people to the end goal.  Mistakes can be great learning opportunities and if done right, letting people know that mistakes are okay (baring safety concerns) encourages them to learn, which ultimately helps them, you and the company.

Here is the challenge: watch for outstanding effort or a mistake that you can recognize.  Let someone know that you appreciate how hard they are working and that it will pay off in the end.  As for the mistake, ask them what they learned and how that will help them in the future.  Ask them to share that knowledge with others.

Let me know how it goes!

Until next time -stay optimistic!

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