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Manufacturing Excellence – Inspire, Lead, and Succeed with RECOGNITION!

 In Manufacture Your Day

“People may take a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition.”
~ Bob Nelson

Just recently I had a conversation with a supervisor and he asked me, “Karin, is it possible that I give my people too much recognition?”
Well, even though I don’t work with this supervisor on a daily basis, I think I can honestly say  that the risk of giving too much recognition and appreciation is pretty low. 

You may have seen the hollywood movie “Meet the Parents”, in which Robert DeNiro states more than once to his future son-in-law: “I’m watching you”…… This is a pretty catchy, scary and funny phrase in the movie but it can also be very meaningful if you want it to be.

So what is my point?

Unfortunately I see a huge lack of observation in our manufacturing plants. Our leaders are either too far removed or too busy to see what’s going on. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that it is about controlling people, but it is certainly about acknowledging them and being aware what they do well.

If our leaders would walk the production floor more often with open eyes and look for people who do things right, they would have plenty of opportunities to give recognition right then and there. It is unfortunate that most managers often only leave their office when things go wrong and many times this may be even be the only time the people see him or her. “I’m watching you” does not have to be a negative statement. If people start to notice that you are present, that you look for positive actions and behaviours, they will know that you care and if you care, they will care. 

There are many forms of recognition. Many books have been written on this subject. There are best practices on the internet. There are courses you can take and coaches you can work with but you have to do something! 

Many people link recognition with financial rewards. Nothing can be nothing further from the truth. Of course you can do things like BBQ’s, hand out books, provide tickets for an event, or give them little tangibles with the company logo but all of this means nothing if you are not able to communicate with your employees one-on-one and show them your respect. 

If you want to recognize people for their work efforts, it has to be authentic and sincere. If you are a more serious person, don’t walk around “trying to smile” because people will see that your actions are inauthentic and fake. Look for other things that fit your personality.

Here are a couple of my personal favourites:

  • Be pleasant
  • Take the time to listen
  • Ask questions and use their ideas in pressure situations
  • Ask them about their challenges and listen
  • Recognize and accommodate their personal needs
  • Show your confidence in them
  • Act on their suggestions and ideas
  • Share information with them, don’t give them the feeling that they don’t understand;
  • Show a sincere interest in the person, their hobbies, their challenges, their life
  • Write a “personal thank you note” to someone
  • Celebrate successes
  • Invite them surprisingly to a meeting to get their input
  • Give praise while the peers are in the room
  • Make it your intention to make someone smile
  • Provide time to socialize
  • Give them additional responsibilities and help them to live up to their full potential
  • Ask for their help on a management matter – this would be huge but needs a manager who possesses a lot of self-confidence and trust 
Make it a habit to greet the people around you, say please and thank you, and be friendly and respectful. However, I don’t consider these basics as a form of recognition. These are life skills and they should be a given for any individual who works in a management position. 

The power of recognition will create a win-win situation for both, the employer and the employee.
If you want to see immediate positive outcomes, don’t wait any longer, and start recognizing the people around you!

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