Creative Ways to Praise Your Team

Successful managers have mastered the art of providing feedback to members of their team. Giving employees constructive feedback is something that tends to occur more often as it is required for creating quality deliverables. Offering praise is just as important, but often overlooked. Employees that receive a balanced amount of positive and constructive feedback are often more productive and more likely to stay with an organization long-term. Running out of creative ideas for letting your team know you appreciate them? Here are a few ways to provide positive feedback besides handing out gold stars (which may be appreciated by some, as well!)

Unsung hero award. Recognizing the folks who put their nose to the grindstone and complete necessary tasks, without fanfare, is essential. “Unsung heroes” are the team members that prefer to be in the background but contribute significantly by ensuring the project keeps moving forward. Recognizing “unsung heroes” is an excellent way to let your team know that you are paying attention. No task is too small; all tasks that move projects forward are important. It also shows that you appreciate different leadership styles, which will empower your quiet leaders to continue to do the good work.

Praise a “change behavior.” If there’s a behavior that you would like more team members to adopt, notice it in a few team members and publicly show your appreciation. This is not only a good way of providing deserved positive feedback, but it also highlights those who model good behavior. For example, if you want to change the way the team gives each other feedback, be on the lookout for a team member who provides feedback to a colleague in a positive, constructive way, perhaps during a team meeting. During the conversation, you might say, “Team member A, I really appreciate how you shared your perspective. It was very honest and helpful.” If you praise desired behavior consistently, you will likely see the behavior of the other team members change over time.

Praise milestones, not just the end deliverable. All of the milestones that lead up to the end of a project are just as important and final deliverable. Working on a team is challenging at times, but showing your team that you are paying attention and noticing a job well done all the way through the process can be very uplifting. Encouragement lets the team know they are on the right track and keeps everyone motivated.

Have your team give each other “roses.” Receiving praise from fellow teammates is just as important as getting positive feedback the manager. Set aside 2-3 minutes during a regular meeting to have team members give each other props or “roses” for the little things that they appreciate in their team members. Though some may find it to be a cheesy at first, it will likely become a valued tradition. Doing this reinforces a positive work culture and shows that everyone is capable of supporting the morale of the team, not just managers.

Giving creative and consistent praise will pay off big in the long run. Providing feedback in diverse and interesting ways ensures many members of your team has the opportunity to get a pat on the back and supports building a positive work culture, which benefits the organization as a whole.

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