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Recognition, or even simple acknowledgment really gives people a boost. A boss doesn't have to praise his or her employees all the time, but simply letting them in on the plans for the company or even asking for their feedback makes people employees feel appreciated. I don't know why some managers appear to be unable to register that fact.

Steve Roesler

Susan, it really is that simple, isn't it? Like you, I am baffled by the inability or unwillingness of too many managers to just say "Thank you."

BTW: I asked that question of a client who was not known for recognition/encouragement, yet respected as a manager in many other ways. However, his lack of recognizing people was beginning to inhibit his upward mobility. HIs response: "My people get paid well to do what they do. They are all adults. I'm not a babysitter."

He is no longer a manager, but an individual contributor.

Thanks for taking time to weigh in, Susan.

Tom Short

It is an amazing phenomenon on how few managers and leaders actually embrace day to day recognition. The ones that do have great teams and better overall performance. So the trick is how do we make it easier and part of the culture were everyone is part of the recognition solution. We struggled with the same thing at my advertising agency. We had good managers who did give recognition and feedback regularly and others that did not. So to get a level of consistency and to measure who was using recognition as part of an employee engagement strategy we developed a system called Kudos. I invite you to check it out.

Steve Roesler


Frequently, in the midst of working with managers, we discover that some people simply need to systematize recognition. They don't have to feel it, they have to do it. So, we help them set up such systems. Obviously, you and your team have turned it into a business that many organizations would be well-served to try out. I enjoyed the website and approach so much that I'm doing an addendum to the post and offering a link to your site. That's not our core business; I sincerely hope it leads to some meaningful inquiries for you guys.

All the best,



Good post on the important of paying attention to people. I have to offer a bit of a correction though, the Hawthorne Effect refers to the tendency of people being studied to alter their efforts because of the study. Mayo's conclusion was that the workers increased productivity because they felt special, however, much of the evidence behind that conclusion has been called into question. This is perhaps why most business people don't recall it. In my OB class, I briefly touch on the Hawthorne studies for its historical significance (It is an ironic story that the man who birthed the Human Relations movement did it on a poorly designed study.)

Subsequent studies have verified the common sense notion that managers being decent human beings positively affect performance.

Steve Roesler


You are 100% correct re: the Hawthorne Effect. I am remiss for not stating clearly the distinction between "being paid attention to" vs. "being part of a study".There is no doubt cross-over behavior based simply upon "attention," but I've not seen a study dedicated to sorting out how much was sheer "attention" and how much was the attention given as "part of a study".

Thanks for taking time to point out the distinction. It is an important one.

Tim Milburn (@timage)

Thank you Steve. I needed to be reminded of this today. It's nice to know that scientific research has proven what common sense reveals to us everyday.

Dr. Dan Neundorf

Great post. Influencing and coaching go hand and hand. A 'reward', or recognition program is so beneficial to both organization and managers/leaders - One day, perhaps more will jump aboard the band-wagon!

Account Deleted

The desire for recognition is a basic human need that must be factored in when managing a team. A structured system of recognition need not be in place. All it takes is for the manager to take a genuine interest in his people and keep them in the loop. Employees will feel motivated to work towards set goals and be productive when they feel they're part of something; that they can contribute and are being appreciated by their superiors.


Recognition is one key to increase productivity of people. The hard work of the people should not be ignore but to acknowledge it to make them motivated.

Helen Whelan

You would think this would be something managers would want to do since acknowledging or complimenting people and good work makes you feel good too! It boils down to a human connection that means so much for so little effort.

Sandra MarketingEyeAtlanta

Imagine the kind of workplace, if all managers/supervisors took a page from Elton Mayo. A little recognition can become a reward in return to the organization and its managers/supervisors.

Janice Meyers

Wow, so simple, yet so insightful. Building a culture based on simple principles like these could stand to improve organizational productivity at little expense!


Indeed, something every manager should invest some of his/her time. No risk and much in return, what else a manager needs. My two cents, apprasing right individual, for the right reason, at the right time and upto the right level, would make it even better.


little appreciation and praise will boost employee morale

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