Recognition Takes You From Teamwork to dreamwork

Make Teamwork to Dreamwork

Understand how recognition reinforces your team story.

“Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival– to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.” –Stephen covey


Recognizing Each Other Transforms Teamwork to Dreamwork 

High-performance teams must do away with poor communication that leaves people feeling frustrated and unheard. not being heard. A competitive mindset within the team creates discord and destroys potential. To reach peak performance, a team must develop trust, respect, pride, and stronger collaboration. Are you ready?


As you live into your stories personally and as a team, the shared stories that emerge become your team culture. When teams take the time to acknowledge their progress and the ways they are living their story, they create new belief systems and shared sets of values that redefine the team culture and inspire further progress. 


High-performance teams are cultivated by great leaders. So how do you cultivate a culture where people work together to achieve extraordinary results? You do it through powerful stories of gratitude, recognition and acknowledgement.


High-performance teams must learn to celebrate each other. 


Deep within our human psyche is a desire for appreciation and to be valued. We want to be truly seen — to be respected for who we are, not just what we bring to the table or how we perform. Taking the time to acknowledge others on your team is a critical step to uniting all of you behind your shared story and propelling your team to success. 


Connect With Gratitude, Recognition, and Acknowledgement  

I want to challenge you to find and give gratitude, recognition and acknowledgements in a new way by communicating the “who” and tapping into the human soul.  It is felt by everyone around: the giver, the receiver and even those who witness it. It inspires everyone to bring their highest self to the game.


The trick is to let go of the rush, slow down and be fully present. When we do this, we clear our thoughts blocking us from seeing, hearing and feeling the connection to others. You are the first person to feel the power of these conversations. 

Gratitude Improves Connection and Builds Trust


Gratitude is one of the hottest topics in positive psychology. Neuroscientists have proven that gratitude promotes connection with others, improves happiness and reinforces a relationship of trust. Gratitude can be expressed verbally, felt through a simple touch or look and even found in a moment of silence. It’s contagious!


A heartfelt thank you is extended for who someone is rather than what they do and acknowledges a personal impact on the person giving thanks.


A heartfelt thank you has three parts:


  1. What about this person are specifically grateful for?
  2. How does this impact you personally?
  3. The result.


For example: “Thank you for showing interest and asking questions about that situation, you helped me consider new possibilities that lead to a great solution for the customer.”


The response is: “You’re Welcome,” not “It was nothing!” or “No big deal!” Resist the urge to respond with statements that diminish the value of the thank you. Remember, you are telling your story with every interaction– don’t sell yourself short like that. Learn to accept gratitude and compliments and let yourself enjoy them, even if doing so feels uncomfortable at first.  

Recognition Validates Hard Work


To celebrate and motivate your team, you kick off your weekly leadership meeting with performance recognition. This has powerful short-term benefits including increased job satisfaction and confidence. Nobody wants to feel like their hard work goes unnoticed, and failing to recognize accomplishments is a great way to kill engagement. Once the “what’s the point of working so hard if nobody notices” thoughts emerge, your team is in trouble. 

Recognition becomes even more powerful and sustainable when you focus on affirming and validating the person for their unique strengths or personal values that lead to the results. In other words, it is often more meaningful to be valued for who you are rather than what you did, as it feels more personal. An example:


“Congratulations on your outstanding performance in that meeting! The way you empathized with the client inspired them to trust us with this project.” 


Similar to the heartfelt thank you, you’re addressing the value of what someone accomplished rather than focusing solely on the results they delivered. Accomplishing a task is inherently its own reward, as most people value that sense of achievement when something is done. Telling someone how their contributions were valuable to the team is far more meaningful than simply acknowledging the completion of a task. 

Acknowledgement Creates Mutual Understanding and Respect


Acknowledgements are so powerful that they are often reserved for an epitaph. They go beyond a specific action or result to address the unique talents, or “superpowers”, that someone brings to the team. Acknowledging each person’s superpowers opens the door to self-discovery, creates mutual understanding of the value individuals have to offer, and promotes respect among the team.


Acknowledgements are not about what someone did or how they did it, they address who someone is and why they are a valuable member of the team. This is a powerful concept that promotes strong connections among the team. When you help someone understand that a job couldn’t be done without them, you increase their sense of belonging, confidence in their work, and their ability to fully step into their role. 


Start with “You are…” and focus on who they are for the team. Keep it short, sweet and powerful. For example, “You are a pioneer for our team. You lead us into new projects with an innovative approach and keep us on track to succeed with new opportunities.”


Here is a simple exercise to get you started:


  1. Write down five people who you truly value.
  2. What would you say to these five people at their retirement?
  3. Now go say it!




About The Author

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Heather Evans is a guide and coach for professionals looking to maximize their individual, team, and business potential.

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