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By Bill Auxier, Ph.D.

I was excited to share what I had just learned with the leadership team.  Market intelligence can be difficult to come by; it can also be very valuable.  I had just learned that a major competitor had a major chink in the armor that just might open the door to a large account that had never acknowledged us.  I sent an email to everyone on the leadership team, summarizing all the details, proofreading it three times, even attaching a link to a press release for further support of the information I was sharing.  The CEO responded with at best a lukewarm response that the information might be a factor to consider.  One week later on a conference call, the CEO enthusiastically recited the exact same information that I had provided in my email, the only difference being that he credited the source as an individual from another company he had spoken with the day before.  I was not recognized nor acknowledged for providing any of the information.  Depriving proper recognition makes others feel forgotten, ignored, or pushed to the side.  Depriving recognition ignites the feeling of resent.  That’s how I felt, ignored and resentful.


I’m sure I have done the same thing to others, most leaders have.  Too often leaders find themselves too busy or do not realize how important it is to recognize another.  Effective leaders realize the importance of recognition and make time to focus on others, to focus on providing recognition.

Marshall Goldsmith offers a four step process for improving on providing recognition:

  1. Make a list of all the important groups of people in your life including friends, family, direct reports, customers, etc.
  2. Write down the names of every important person in each group.
  3. Set aside time twice a week to review the list of names and ask yourself if any of them did something that you should recognize.
  4. If the answer is “yes,” provide recognition via phone, email, voice mail, or a note. If the answer is “no,” do nothing; you don’t want to come across as a phony.

People who experience the sting of no recognition tend to feel its effects a long time.  Effective leaders understand the importance of proper recognition and make it a habit.

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