Do you praise your teams enough?

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Guest post by Erika Flora

Years ago, I heard this great quote that has really stuck with me and become somewhat of a mantra. It is as follows:

There is no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.

General of the Army George C. Marshall

Staff Sgt. Conrad Begaye recognized for bravery under fire in Afghanistan - by US Army Africa via Flickr

Staff Sgt. Conrad Begaye recognized for bravery under fire in Afghanistan - by US Army Africa via Flickr

What a fabulous concept! Often, we are so worried about our own jobs and careers that we don?t take the time to think about those around us and make sure we help them get what they want. Ever since I started making a conscious effort to really ?let go? of who gets the credit, my work attitude has completely changed. In addition, the way my team and others around me view my work has completely changed. They realize that I am their champion, and they work hard to perform to the best of their abilities. Rather than spending time worrying about whether executive management sees all the great things I am doing, and position myself accordingly for that next great promotion, I focus on mentoring others and helping those around me get recognized for their hard work. I actually spend part of my work week thinking about how I can bring visibility and kudos to the efforts of my teams.

Too often, when employees are surveyed in their companies, many of them say that they feel their work is not valued or that no one has told them in the last six months that they appreciate them. How terrible! The best thing we can do for our coworkers, direct reports, colleagues, and project teams is to find creative ways to show them our thanks and make sure everyone in our company knows that they are making a valuable contribution. We all love to get praised for our hard work. Make sure you are taking the time to proactively do that for others.

Many companies have put great examples of this concept in place. When I worked with Pfizer, they implemented something called a Pfish program where you could send a Pfish card to a colleague for a variety of reasons (being a team player, going the extra mile, or even just making your day). Every week, the people that had received a Pfish card were entered into a raffle for a gift card. However, the very best thing about the Pfish card program was that the recipient?s boss was copied on the email that they received. It was a really fun program and one that made employees feel special and appreciated.

However, you don?t need a company program to show your appreciation for others. Here are some really easy things you can do to make a big difference in the lives of those around you ? Submit your project team for an internal company award, external ?Project of the Year?, or other award. There are lots of professional organizations that look for a variety of award submissions and, many times, are excited to get new submissions from companies or people they have not heard from before. Log onto LinkedIn and write unsolicited recommendations for people you have enjoyed working with. Send a short email to a coworker?s boss thanking them for going the extra mile on a difficult project. Start a ?Thanks a latte!? newsletter that thanks your team members by name and post it up at work, maybe even leave a small Starbucks gift card on their desk before they get into work. The more creative and silly, the better! You will be surprised by the results. It seems counter-intuitive, but we as project managers end up shining the brightest when our teams shine. What other examples have you seen or done to brighten the day for those you work with and help them get the kudos they richly deserve?

Erika Flora, PMP, ITIL Expert