Too much honor?

I’ve heard concern that too much honor may de-motivate volunteers and employees.  If you give people too much praise they’ll lose passion and get fat and lazy. They’ll settle into the notion your organization is lucky to have them. They’ll need to be served rather than serve.

Show honor that motivates.

You get what you honor. Saying, “great job,” celebrates a completion and allows recipients to define “great.” You may be more effective if you carefully choose what and how you honor others.

Honor behaviors.

Rather than saying you’re great, highlight the fact that they stayed late to help their team meet a deadline.

Honor behaviors connected to values, mission, and vision. Say, “When you stopped in the hall to help a bewildered customer you helped make us who we want to be.”

Honor and explain the impact of behaviors on other employees. Don’t say, “Great job.” Say, “Mary is encouraged and our safety record is preserved when you keep your area clean.”

“Giving people self-confidence is by far the most important thing that I can do. Because then they will act.” Jack Welch

Honor and explain the impact of their behaviors on the company. Say, “When you leave your station to help Bill it keeps the line moving and helps us surpass quota.”

Don’t honor completed tasks. Honor the energy and effort that got the task done.

If you’re concerned that “too” much appreciation makes people over confident and lazy, start honoring the right things.


Have you seen “too” much honor de-motivate an employee?

How can managers and leaders show honor that motivates?