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Chapter 16. Different Strokes for Differ... > Giving Recognition to Individuals - Pg. 198

Different Strokes for Different Folks 198 Encourage Members to Excel When the emphasis is on the team, individual members may lose the incentive to do their very best. They feel that their personal contribution will be overlooked. But unless each member is motivated to do his or her very best, the team goals will never be met. One way to motivate members and build up their confidence is to give them positive reinforcement. Too often, the only feedback employees get is criticism. When people hear continual criticism, they begin to feel stupid, inferior, and resentful. Although someone may have done something that wasn't satisfactory, your objective is to correct the behav- ior, not to make the person feel bad. The famous psychologist B. F. Skinner noted that criticism often reinforces poor behavior (when the only time an offender gets attention is when is when he or she is being criticized). He recommended that we minimize our reaction to poor behavior and maximize our appreciation of good behavior. Rather than bawl out an associate for doing something wrong, quietly tell the person, "You're making some progress in the work, but we still have a way to go. Let me show you some ways to do it more rapidly." When the work does improve, make a big fuss over it. Some team leaders provide individual achievement rewards that reward improvement. Instead of basing rewards on who sells most or produces most, they are based on each member's improve- ment over past figures or on new achievements. Members compete with themselves rather than against each other. Another approach is peer-driven awards. Team members can reward a teammate for extra effort. Members can give other members a "You Made My Day" card (see the following illustration). This recognition, by itself, is often enough of a motivator, but some companies add tangible rewards. One company gives members who accumulate five cards two tickets to a local movie theater. Others provide similar inexpensive, but meaningful, prizes. You Made My Day Card Date: To: From: What you did: What it meant to me: Signed:_____________________________________ Copy to Human Resources Copy to team leader Praise Members' Accomplishments Although all of us require praise to feed our egos and help make us feel good about ourselves, you can't praise people indiscriminately: Praise should be reserved for accomplishments that are worthy of special acknowledgment. So how do you deal with people who never do anything particularly praiseworthy?