In January 2023, Ambition in Motion CEO Garrett Mintz faced an interesting quandary
that a participant brought to the table in an Executive Mastermind
group meeting. This executive talked about the lavish praises that her CEO had given her, but also made note of the fact that her CEO had effectively quadrupled her responsibilities. In addition to this, despite the dramatic increase in responsibilities, this executive had received no proportionate increase in pay or benefits.
This is a phenomenon known as contradictory feedback. While this normally happens from different managers having different expectations, goals, or communication styles, it can also happen implicitly as well. In this case, giving the praise seemed to be a reward, but additional responsibilities with no pay? That feels like a punishment. While in this case an executive fell victim to this, it could easily happen to a direct report because of poor management. Let’s talk about how to properly recognize your employees. Recognition falls into two distinct categories: constructive criticism and properly rewarding employees. Both categories help make up effective managerial recognition.
Giving good constructive criticism is an important aspect of being a manager, as it helps to build trust, improve performance, and promote personal and professional growth. It is important to remember that constructive criticism should be an ongoing process, not just a one-time event. Managers should strive to create a culture of open and honest feedback, where individuals feel comfortable giving and receiving feedback, and where feedback is used as a tool for growth and improvement. By doing so, they can help to create a workplace where individuals feel valued and motivated, and where they can reach their full potential. Here are some tips for giving effective feedback to your direct reports:
· Specific and actionable: Constructive criticism should be specific and actionable, focusing on specific behaviors or actions that need improvement, rather than generalizations or blanket statements. For example, instead of saying "you're not doing a good job," you could say "I noticed that you missed this deadline, can we discuss ways to prevent that from happening in the future?"
· Timing: Constructive criticism should be given in a timely manner, as close to the event as possible. Delaying feedback can make it less effective and more difficult to address the issue.
· Focus on improvement: The goal of constructive criticism is to help the individual improve, not to punish or discredit them. Feedback should be focused on helping the individual understand what they need to do differently in the future.
· Follow-up: Constructive criticism should be followed up with regular coaching, mentoring, or feedback sessions to monitor progress and provide additional support as needed.
While criticism and praise are important aspects of recognizing and rewarding good employees, it should not be the only form of reward. They are not enough to motivate and engage employees and can quickly become meaningless if overused. Additionally, praise may not always align with the individual's personal and professional goals and may not provide tangible benefits that are important to the employee.
To be effective, rewards for good employees should be diverse and tailored to the individual's needs and preferences. The following rewards provide tangible and nontangible benefits that employees can see and feel and help to show that their efforts are valued and appreciated.
1) Flexibility and autonomy: Allowing employees to have more control over their work, such as flexible hours or the ability to work remotely, can be a powerful reward. By giving employees the freedom to manage their own time, you are showing them that you trust and value their abilities.
2) Professional development opportunities
: Investing in your employees' professional growth and development is a great way to reward and retain top talent. Offer training and development opportunities, such as workshops, conferences, mastermind groups
or mentorship programs
, to help employees improve their skills and advance in their careers. For help promoting these benefits, use this resource
3) Monetary rewards
: Financial incentives, such as bonuses, can be an effective way to reward employees for their hard work. However, it is important to be mindful of the reasons for the reward, and to ensure that it is tied to specific performance metrics and achievements. Using a tool such as AIM Insights
can make tracking specific metrics from employees much easier.
4) Time off: Providing employees with additional time off, such as paid time off, can be a valuable reward. This can include a flexible schedule, additional paid vacation days, or a paid day off for a special occasion.
5) Employee events and activities: Organizing employee events and activities, such as team building exercises, company outings, or social events, can be a fun and effective way to reward employees. These types of events provide opportunities for employees to bond and have fun and can help to foster a positive and motivated work environment.
6) Autonomy and trust: This can include giving employees more control over their work and allowing them to take ownership of their projects.
7) Support and resources
: This can include providing employees with the resources and support they need to succeed, such as access to technology, tools, or training, like AIM Insights
8) Job enrichment: Providing employees with new and challenging responsibilities or allowing them to take on additional projects or tasks, can be a rewarding and motivating experience. By giving employees the opportunity to grow and develop their skills, you are showing them that you value their contributions and trust in their abilities.
Managers can help to build trust and improve performance among their direct reports by giving good criticism. The key is to be clear, specific, and solution-focused, and to encourage open and honest dialogue. In addition to that, by taking a creative and holistic approach to rewarding employees, managers can help to foster a positive and motivated work environment.