A leader must learn as many ways as possible to value the contributions of others. This is an essential part of the motivation for high performance. Through role-play, this activity offers an opportunity to practice.
- To identify how people are motivated to work at their best.
- To explore a variety of ways to reward and recognize others.
- Role Play Cards
- Keep the Fire Burning–Recognizing Others
Chairs arranged in a circle
There are many books and journal articles available that address the subject of employee recognition. This activity can act as an introduction to the subject of valuing and rewarding effort and performance.
Step by Step Instructions
- Introduce the subject of employee recognition: Give participants the following task and asking the questions –
Think of the last time you worked for someone or were part of a team when you believe you were very motivated.
How did you feel?
What kind of results did you achieve?
How did the manager or team leader treat you?
Ask participants if they know what motivates people to work. Tell them that this is the focus of the next exercise. Divide the group into pairs and ask each pair to arrange their chairs so they are facing one another.
Distribute the attached document titled : Role Play Cards.
Ask one person to play the role of leader and the second to play the role of employee. They should act out role-plays #1 and #2.
Role Play #1: Ask the “manager” to read the card and then start the role play.
Manager: Tell your employee that you received the final report on his team’s project. Say thanks, but go on to criticize how long he took. Point out various spelling errors in the report, tell him how you really wanted the formatting done, and so on.
Role Play #2: Ask the “manager” to read the card and then start the role play.
Manager: Tell your employee that you received the final report on the team project. Thank him or her and hand the employee an invitation to a celebration.
- Discuss the two role plays. Ask employees in the first role-play how it felt in the second role play. (Have them try to stay in character when they explain.) Ask managers what kind of results you are likely to get with the first method. What about the second? Then ask everyone: How can we recognize employees for their work, yet still give the necessary criticism constructively?” Discuss participants’ ideas on this question. Then ask, “Which works best? To ignore? To give negative feedback? Or to give positive feedback?” Someone will invariably point out that the opposite of love is not hate—it is to be ignored. So, the worst thing to do is to ignore the person’s effort or accomplishment. Being negative is the next worst.
- Positive feedback works best, yet it is the least used. Cite the following and write it on a flipchart, if possible, so people can copy it down: What do employees want from their employer or leader?
58%–To use my time wisely
52%–To have a well-managed company
50%–To use my talents sensibly
41%–To assign me only clearly defined tasks
39%–To provide experiences that will enhance my career
31%–To thank me!
Distribute document attached – Keep the Flame Burning–Recognizing Others, then continue your presentation by pointing out these interesting facts (first quiz the group on what they think): The number one reason why people leave their positions is lack of praise. In one study, managers listed “money and job security” as the top motivator they thought employees would want. What did the employees list? Full appreciation for a job well done! Employees want open communication, and they want to be treated with a sense of respect and trust. Leaders must encourage feedback and suggestions, and they must pay attention to them.
In one study:
58% seldom, if ever, received personal thanks.
76% seldom, if ever, received written thanks.
81% seldom, if ever, received public praise.
1. Top-motivating incentives must be initiated by the leaders themselves, and they must be based on performance.
2. Recognition must take place as soon as possible after the achievement.
3. Recognition must happen frequently. As Ken Blanchard says,
Catch people doing things right!
- Now it’s time to practice giving positive feedback. Explain the four parts of positive feedback with this example:
I saw what you did.
I appreciate it.
Here’s why it is important.
Here’s how it made me feel.
Ask each pair to think of two people who deserve positive recognition.
Ask them to apply the formula just outlined and practice giving recognition out loud with their partner.
Back in the total group, discuss how well this formula worked.
Discuss their responses and ask for suggestions as to how people can use this method at work and at home.
- Close the session by lighting a candle and enthusiastically remind people to keep the flame of enthusiasm and achievement burning by positively recognizing their employees.
Take time shortly after conducting this activity to reflect on how it went, how engaged the participants were, and what questions they raised. Then, make notes that include how much time you actually spent on the activity.