The Top Three Communication Issues That Hold Leaders Back

The top three communication issues that hold leaders back:

  1. 63% – Not recognizing employee achievement.
  2. 57% – Not giving clear direction.
  3. 52% – Not having time to meet with employees.

(Source: Interact/Harris Poll)

5 ways to recognize achievement:

  1. Don’t give a trophy for everything. Give recognition for achievements. You demotivate top performers when you recognize people for showing up.
  2. Give new responsibilities. Honor extra effort by giving opportunities to shine in other places. Don’t overwhelm. Consider their career goals.
  3. Express gratitude specifically. Avoid, “Good job.” Describe what they did and how it impacted others.
  4. Notice and explain. “I noticed you’ve been in early every day this week. I respect your initiative.”
  5. Provide opportunities for growth. Employees feel they matter when you help them develop.


If you aren’t sure how to recognize team members, ask them. One leader told me, “I just like to hear my name up front once in a while.”

The heart:

The heart of recognition isn’t a formula to get more out of people. It’s about value.

Recognition makes people feel valued.

An APA Workplace Survey found that, “Employed adults who report feeling valued by their employer are significantly more likely to report they are motivated to do their very best for their employer (93% vs. 33%).

You can try manipulative motivation techniques or you might just show people they’re valued.


Recognize behaviors that create your organization’s aspirational future.

Connect praise and recognition to aspirational vision. “We’re committed to build a positive work environment. The way you show interest in others takes us where we want to go.”

5 sentences that affirm and challenge in one breath:

Recognition isn’t about coddling. It’s about noticing good character, useful behaviors, and hard work.

  1. You have more in you.
  2. This is below your potential.
  3. You can do better.
  4. What will you do differently next time?
  5. Is this your best?

How might leaders effectively recognize employees?

What types of recognition work best for you?