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How can I commend my team?

Frank Blecha
Frank Blecha
2 min read
How can I commend my team?

Table of Contents

One area I need to remind myself of consistently is commending my team. I expect good work. I see the team put in the effort to do a good job, but I need to remind myself to say it out loud.

As a manager, you need to be clear about praise and use it to reinforce what you think is good performance and teamwork. Make time at least once a quarter to recognize your team members. This recognition is separate from a promotion or raise but a general heartfelt "thanks" for their work with specific examples.

Informal recognition is something you say or demonstrate, but the occasion isn't officially recorded. Examples include:

  • You can mention it during a scheduled 1:1.
  • Toast a specific person or the entire team during a team lunch.
  • If you're on a call, it might be a nice "shout out" at the start while waiting for folks to join or at the end before the call ends.

Formal recognition means you've documented or demonstrated officially. If it's written down, it's automatically formal even if that wasn't your intent. It's formal because the employee can later point to that document as your assessment on a given day. It's nothing to shy away from, but you must be aware of it when writing it down. Documentation can include any of the following:

  • Send an email to recognize a person's effort.
  • Submit a note in a company recognition system.
  • Sent a note to their manager.
  • Sent them a chat.

You can also recognize someone formally at an all-hands event for doing a great job. If you do that, make sure you know everyone involved in the effort and recognize all of them. Here's some thoughts to work through before doing it:

Do I have all of the team members?

Do I know how to pronounce all the names? If you're not sure on a last name for one person, only do first names for all of them.

Can you provide context (hopefully via a story) about why the broader team should understand the recognition?

You could also present an internal award (monetary or non-monetary) for outstanding work. For financial rewards, confirm with your HR team that it's appropriate. I've seen many managers get crossed up here because an award is considered compensation (which needs to be taxed), and it comes back to haunt them. It doesn't mean you shouldn't do it; you must know the policy before you ad-lib a gift card presentation.

Consistently recognizing and commending your team members is not just a nice to have but a critical component of effective management. Whether through informal shout-outs during meetings or formal acknowledgments in company communications, praise reinforces positive behaviors and boosts morale. By understanding the nuances between informal and formal recognition, you can ensure that your commendations are impactful and meaningful. Remember, a well-timed "thank you" can go a long way in fostering a motivated and engaged team, ultimately driving your organization's success. So, take a moment today to acknowledge your team's hard work and dedication—it's an investment that pays off in spades.