Celebrate Success @ Work
Smart managers realize the value of celebrating success to motivate employees.
They typically take their team out for lunch or some other social event to
celebrate the success of achieving a particularly difficult target where everyone
has had to work extra hard. On a smaller scale, managers thank employees
individually for putting in an extra effort or when they do something special.
Another popular approach to employee recognition is to create an employee of
the month program. The team member whose contribution during a particular
month has been most valuable becomes employee of that month. These ways of
motivating employees are dramatic and they can be powerful if used effectively,
but there are smaller initiatives managers can take that can have a deeper, more
lasting effect on employee motivation. In addition, it is possible that some
employees might never become employee of the month, so how should a
manager motivate them?
Every time managers meet with their team members, whether individually or as
a team, a simple technique to celebrate success is to ask what went well since
the last meeting. Most managerial meetings focus on problems and issues and,
as a result, the overall tone within the team can be rather negative. Employees
come to meetings wondering what trouble they might be in this time and they
prepare to defend themselves. Being in a defensive frame of mind, they may be
economical with the truth and reluctant to convey bad news to their boss.
Essential communication can be sacrificed as a result of this negative, fearful
By asking what went well since the last meeting, before moving onto problems,
employees are given a chance to talk about their everyday successes and
achievements. Over time, they start to think about what achievements they will
talk about in the next meeting. Then they think what else they can do that would
make a good impact on their boss. As a result, they are not only getting some
recognition for good work, they start feeling motivated to do even more, just to
have something positive to say at the next meeting. In addition, spending time
talking about positive things that have happened helps to change the tone of the
meeting and the overall atmosphere in the team. There is now a better balance
between positive and negative. This helps employees relax and feel more
confident. They find it less stressful to admit mistakes because they know their
boss recognizes and appreciates all the value they add. Team communication
becomes more open and honest as a result of creating such a positive
When first starting to use this technique, it is important to persist and probe for
even small examples of things that went well. The problem is that employees
tend to take their achievements for granted. The aspects of their jobs they are
very good at are generally easy for them to do as well, so they tend to dismiss
them as not being worth mentioning. Not being aware of how valuable these
contributions are, it is easy for them to focus too much on mistakes and, as a
result, feel demotivated much of the time.
Often managers won’t observe many of the good things employees do, so
creating a routine discipline of always asking what went well provides the
manager with essential data to use when it comes to performance appraisal time.
But the real benefit of this way of celebrating success is that every team
member gets some recognition and is better motivated as a result.