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A Little Piece of Blue Ribbon Published: Sunday, August 6, 2000 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

While enjoying last month in Paris, a friend told me that Napoleon said that man would give his life for a little piece of blue ribbon. Another person that was sharing with us the occasion exclaimed: Are you kidding? No one expects people to make any such extreme sacrifice. However, I said, some sort of little piece of blue ribbon is due on same occasion. The college athlete, the actor in a movie or theater production, the volunteer in a community project, the employee that has work hard after a hurricane or an emergency have little thought of any financial gain for their effort. Yet, people like this frequently devotes great amount of energies to such work and stand to receive only a small amount of recognition.

If people will work hard for a little piece of blue ribbon this should be an interesting lesson for organizations, leaders and managers. The organization setting is an ideal environment for granting recognition to people. The same is the case for the family scenario. Any laurels given to an employee should be as extra recognition rather than as a substitute for raises, bonuses, or promotions that can be extended. To give a certificate of appreciation for good work instead of the raise that was anticipated usually only works the first time out. After that, nobody wants the certificate. Everyone will say: "Give me the raise instead".

The key point is that if the award is made in addition to all of the other things that may be due to the employee, it can work wonders. The recognition has to be a sign of appreciation rather than a substitute for the dollar of the realm. Remember that normal people enjoy being recognized. Things that are recognized well are done well. Thing that are done well should be recognized well.

One way to convey recognition is to provide it verbally at the time of the superior performance or reasonably shortly after. Such an action is more effective when done where others can overhear the expression or join in applause. If real sentiments are expressed, it may be more appreciated. Be alert. How much recognition does an average employee receive in his lifetime? Very little. What achievements can an average employee discuss with family and friends? That is why we often hear the comment: at least, my supervisor appreciates what I am doing. An employee who can make that statement to himself or to others will be better motivated toward doing a quality job.

So give recognition by way of sincere hug, an engraved certificate, an article in the company publication, a press release, a pen or a certificate gift. Remember, recognize behavior and give incentives for achieved results!

Every manager and supervisor should say "thanks" once in a while in order to contribute to a pleasant work atmosphere. People work best when they acknowledge that their work is truly appreciated.

 


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