Why recognition is the most important leadership skill

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“Be so busy giving recognition to others that you don’t really need it for yourself” – Jim Rohn

I think that often times those of us that do a lot of work for others very rarely get any recognition for the work that we do.

Unless we do something about it, or we understand how to behave like a great leader, this can in turn result in feeling demotivated, bitter and frustrated.

We get pissed off because it feels like no one cares about the work we’re doing.

It might also be the case that people around you are getting recognition for the work that you do for them, and you sit in the background.

This isn’t a good feeling to have, unless you can turn the tables on it.

And my starting point for you is to embrace the advice from Jim Rohn – get busy giving people recognition for their work. Instead of looking for it yourself, give it to others.

Trust me, this will replace your need for recognition. What will start to happen, is that when you start to give, you will receive.

But, it all starts with giving.

In this podcast I share some of the examples of where recognition has worked for me, what the outcomes can look like, and where you can get started.

Enjoy the show and DFTBA!

Chris.

Full Transcription

Since a young working age I have been leading teams, and I was in management from the age of 19 through to 29 when I left my job. I now run a membership business, and my role is very much a leadership role.

As well as leading employees, I lead a community. It’s not really all that different. Leadership principles are leadership principles, and they never change and can be applied to all our roles in our lives.

I think we forget just how important it is for all of us to improve our leadership skills, and I think many people don’t see themselves as leaders unless they are in a traditional leadership role. But actually, we’re all leaders in one way or many, and we can all be leaders.

So, for you – the business people and marketers that listen to this show – you are a leader. There’s no doubt about it. As a company of one, you are a leader. As an in-house marketer, you are a leader. If you have team working with you, you are a leader, if you are the head of dept. You are a leader. If you are an employee, you are a leader.

I want to pick out one leadership skill on this podcast today, as it’s something I massively believe in.

That skill is recognition.

Jim Rohn is a great mentor of mine, as you know as I’ve talked about him a lot before. He said:

“Be so busy giving recognition to others that you don’t really need it for yourself”

What I think he means here is that you replace your need for recognition with giving. It’s a brilliant quote and has really inspired me, particularly in recent years. If it doesn’t make sense now, it will shortly.

A few examples and stories of how I’ve developed this over the years:

Manager/Leader

We had a big problem with gossip in one of our teams and when someone in the team behaved in the right way I would publicly recognise that behaviour in front of the rest of the team and I’d give them a gift. It was simple really, but helped others to see what a good example was. SO I wasn’t using it to recognise achievements, it was much more about correcting behaviour and eliminating gossip in this example.

Network Marketing

Recognition is massive in network marketing, and I’ve had some exposure to the industry. Every meeting, every major event, they recognise people for their achievements. It’s almost too much at that level, but it works to motivate others, and also at that scale it works as social proof to see that if others can do it, then I can do it too.

Weekly Calls in CMA

Every week I recognise people for their work – I do this on a live zoom call. If they have created a great piece of content, or got some results, or achieved something I will mention that on the call and talk about it. It’s great to know that someone is looking at your work and appreciating the work that you do. Also, from a leadership perspective, by acknowledge people for they work, it shows others what ‘good’ looks like and can motivate others to push themselves to a new level. Again, it changes behaviour.

Live events

For the past few years I’ve slowly been introducing awards into our live events. I started off with one a few years ago, and this year we did 6.

This year we had awards for Best video, podcast, blog, in-house marketer, best newcomer and outstanding achievement.

It’s possibly the best part of the event for me. It can be pretty emotional, and again it’s about acknowledging people for the work they do, and also showcasing to others who are watching what ‘good’ looks like.

So, in summary…recognition can:

  • help to create a positive culture in your organisation or community
  • help to inspire and motivate others that are just getting started or have perhaps been through a tough period
  • create social proof that ‘if you do this then this is what can happen’
  • improve morale and generally increases productivity

So, as a business owner or marketer, what does this mean for you? What can you do with recognition?

I think that often times those of us in these kind of roles do a lot of work for others, but we very rarely get any recognition for the work that we do.

Unless we do something about it, or we understand how to behave like a great leader, this can in turn result in feeling demotivated, bitter and frustrated.

We get pissed off because it feels like no one cares about the work we’re doing.

It might also be the case that people around you are getting recognition for the work that you do for them, and you sit in the background.

This isn’t a good feeling to have, unless you can turn the tables on it.

And my starting point for you is to embrace the advice from Jim Rohn – get busy giving people recognition for their work. Instead of looking for it yourself, give it to others.

Trust me, this will replace your need for recognition. What will start to happen, is that when you start to give, you will receive.

But, it all starts with giving.

You might be thinking to yourself that you already give recognition to others. I’d challenge you to think about how you could do it better or differently. Are you doing it often enough, are you doing it honestly, are you doing it with some kind of strategy – rewarding the correct behaviour, making sure you don’t have favourites, and understating why it’s important for you to do it.

You might also be thinking to yourself that it’s not ‘your job’ to do this. As in, it’s really the boss that should be doing it.

Not so. If you want to be a great leader, then it starts with you. Also, don’t forget that recognition works up and down. It’s not a ‘top-down’ thing.

As an example, Jeremy Squibb sent me a private Tweet at CMA Live 18 this year, and he said:

“Many people shy away from heaping praise on top professionals and ground breakers as they think they don’t need to. I think it’s essential – no matter who you are or what you do, a ‘well done’ is still an incredible feeling”

I think this is an amazing philosophy to have.

So, perhaps it’s not just a case of recognising people in your life, but looking up to those who inspire you and recognising them for the work they are doing and the positive impact they are having on your life.

Here are three key leadership traits I believe in. As a marketer and as a leader:

  1. Leadership starts with elevating others
  2. In order for me to be successful, you must be successful
  3. It’s not about me.

Believe that you are a leader. Start with recognition.

Conclusion

So, it’s over to you now.

Ask yourself…

  • Who deserves recognition from me today?
  • What kindness could I do today to make some feel noticed or special?
  • Who do I know that is working hard and doing great work?
  • Who do I know that goes through life without receiving any recognition for what they do?
  • Who have I forgotten about in my life?

And get to it.

I’d love to hear back from you on this. If you go ahead and start doing this, or if you already do it and you have some tips to share on what’s worked for you.

Let me know – tweet me @chrismarr101, or email me at chris@cmauk.co.uk.

I hope you are enjoying what you do and DFTBA!

Chris.

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